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On Wednesday, Ireland lost a piece of itself.

Sinead O’Connor, a woman whose voice soundtracked the inequalities of society and the demons that exist in all of us, died in London, it was confirmed via a statement by her family and by authorities. She was 56. A daughter, a mother and a sister, O’Connor’s influence on popular music was evident. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, the hit penned by Prince but made entirely her own by her outstanding, iridescent performances of it, will go down in history as one of the finest love songs ever conceived — but much like O’Connor’s own persona over the years, it bridged a gap between beauty and sorrow, between steadfast dignity and heartbreaking loss.

Loss was a subject to which she was no stranger. O’Connor’s son, Shane, 17, died in January of last year. It was a blow from which O’Connor would never recover; a fact she made no bones about. And it was this sense of openness, often characterised by her refusal to bow down to injustice, for which O’Connor might be best remembered.

In the early 1990s, at the height of her fame, she provoked the ire of US broadcaster NBC — and religious people all over the world — by tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on Saturday Night Live, in what can likely be considered as among the most ‘punk rock’ expressions seen in decades. It was, as we would learn later, a statement against prolonged and repeated abuses by and covered-up by the Catholic Church, a dominant influence in the society in which O’Connor was raised.

The backlash was immediate and it was fierce. She was told she’d never be welcome on that stage again. She was booed by an unforgiving crowd at a Bob Dylan tribute concert in New York, prompting Kris Kristofferson to tell her: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

Her reply was simple: “I’m not down.”

Of course, many MMA fans will know O’Connor as being the voice which accompanies Conor McGregor to the cage during his UFC walkouts — and even in person, at the UFC 189 event in 2015 at which McGregor defeated Chad Mendes to claim his first UFC world title.

He had this to say of her passing: “The world has lost an artist with the voice of an Angel. Ireland has lost an iconic voice and one of our absolute finest, by a long shot. And I have lost a friend. Sinead’s music will live on and continue to inspire! Rest In Peace, Sinead you are home with your son I am sure.”

And in the words of ‘The Foggy Dew, “My heart with grief was sore. For I parted then with valiant men. Whom I never shall see n’more.”

Sleep well, Sinead.