Cranberries Singer Dolores O'Riordan Cause of Death Determined: Drowning Due to Alcohol Intoxication

The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan accidentally drowned in a bathtub after drinking, a coroner’s inquest concluded Thursday (Sept. 6). A police officer told the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court that a pajama-clad O’Riordan was found submerged in her bathtub at a London hotel on the morning of Jan. 15.

The 46-year-old singer didn’t leave a note and there was no evidence of self-harm. Five miniature alcohol bottles and a bottle of champagne were found in the room, and toxicology tests revealed a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit for driving. “Therapeutic” amounts of prescription medication were also found, the inquest heard.

Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said that O’Riordan died from drowning because of alcohol intoxication. “There’s no evidence that this was anything other than an accident,” she said. Inquests are held in Britain to determine the facts in sudden, violent or unexplained deaths. O’Riordan’s inquest was held on what would have been her 47th birthday.

According to BBC News, the singer checked into London's Park Lane Hilton Hotel on January 14 and contacted room service around midnight and called her mother around 3 in the morning London time. She was found unresponsive and confirmed dead at 9:16 a.m. 

The Cranberries formed in the Irish city of Limerick at the end of the 1980s and had international hits in the ’90s with songs including “Dream,” ″Linger” and “Zombie.” O’Riordan had suffered physical and mental health problems over the years. The Cranberries cut short a world tour in 2017 because of the singer’s back problems. She had also spoken in interviews about being sexually abused as a child, her battles with depression and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

At the time of her death she was in London for a recording session, and was planning a tour. After her death, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that “for anyone who grew up in Ireland in the 1990s, Dolores O’Riordan was the voice of a generation.” The other members of The Cranberries said in a statement Thursday that they “continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened.”

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dolores' children and her family and our thoughts are with them today. Dolores will live on eternally in her music. To see how much of a positive impact she had on people's lives has been a source of great comfort to us. We'd like to say thank you to all of our fans for the outpouring of messages and their continued support during this very difficult time."