The death of rock star Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries, has been ruled officially as an accidental death by drowning due to alcohol intoxication.
The 46 year old Irish rocker was found unconscious in a bath at the Hilton hotel in Park Lane, London on January 15th this year. She was discovered when a housekeeping maid entered room 2005, and found her submerged face-up in the bathtub wearing a pair of pyjamas and a long-sleeve vest.
O’Riordan’s nose and mouth were underwater, and later tests showed her lungs to be waterlogged, according to PC Natalie Smart, who was one of the first people to enter the hotel room, and attempts to revive the singer were unsuccessful before she was pronounced dead at 9:16am.
Post-mortem tests showed the singer's blood alcohol level to be four times over the legal limit for driving at the time of her death. She had no injuries or evidence of self-harm, but had drunk an excessive amount of alcohol, expert witnesses told Westminster Coroner’s Court.
There were five miniature bottles of spirits and a bottle of champagne in her hotel room, as well as containers of prescription drugs with a quantity of tablets in each container. Toxicology tests showed she had only “therapeutic” levels of prescription drugs in her system. The inquest heard that O'Riordan had bipolar disorder but had responded well to treatment. She had spoken to psychiatrist Dr Seamus O’Ceallaigh on January 9th, and was in “good spirits” despite having felt low over the Christmas period.
Delivering a verdict of accidental death due to alcohol intoxication in the hearing on Thursday morning (September 6th), Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said that O’Riordan’s passing was a “tragic accident”.
The inquest was attended by O'Riordan's mother, brother and sister-in-law. She split from her husband of 20 years, Don Burton, in 2014. She and Burton, a former tour manager for Duran Duran, have three children together.
As lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan enjoyed huge worldwide fame in the 1990s, with international hits such as ‘Linger’, ‘Dreams’ and ‘Zombie’ being among their most fondly remembered songs.