Coroner Rules on What Killed Cranberries Singer

Dolores O'Riordan died in an accidental drowning after a night of heavy drinking
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2018 7:49 AM CDT
In this Jan. 27, 2008, file photo, Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan performs during the European Border Breakers Awards in Cannes, France.   (AP Photo/Bruno Bebert, File)

(Newser) – The sudden death of Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan in January stunned the world, and a new development may prompt further shock waves. An inquest in the UK took place Thursday on what would have been the performer's 47th birthday, and the court heard that O'Riordan died of drowning on Jan. 15 after becoming intoxicated from a night of heavy drinking, the BBC reports. "There's no evidence that this was anything other than an accident," coroner Shirley Radcliffe said of O'Riordan, who was found submerged in a bathtub in a London hotel by a maid, per the Telegraph. In her room were prescription medication bottles with pills still inside, an empty champagne bottle, and five empty minibar bottles of alcohol.

A toxicology analysis deemed there were "therapeutic" amounts of meds in O'Riordan's blood, but mainly a large amount of alcohol—she had a BAC of .33, more than four times the .08 legal limit for driving. There'd been speculation that O'Riordan had killed herself, but although the Guardian reports the inquest revealed O'Riordan had a drinking problem and bipolar disorder (and that she'd even written a suicide note last September after a drinking binge), "there was no intention" this time around, per Radcliffe. A psychiatrist who'd talked with her shortly before her death says O'Riordan "was doing well, she was not drinking, she was a little sad on Christmas Day … no thoughts of suicide." The Cranberries noted the new developments in a statement, tweeting, "We continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened." (Read more celebrity death stories.)

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