Sinéad O'Connor found safe after going missing from Chicago suburb

Officials reportedly feared for Irish singer’s health after she disappeared from Wilmette, Illinois, prompting search and concerned messages on Facebook

Sinéad O’Connor has been found safe, local police have confirmed, after a desperate hunt was launched to find the Irish singer when she disappeared on Sunday from a suburb of Chicago.

News that she had not been seen since early on Sunday morning immediately sparked alarm as reports emerged on Monday that authorities were concerned for her health.

Police in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette released a statement on Monday in which they said they were “seeking to check the wellbeing” of the 49-year-old.

O’Connor “reportedly left the Wilmette area for a bicycle ride yesterday (Sunday) at 6 am (1100 GMT) and has not returned”, the statement said.

Worried messages were soon posted on the singer’s Facebook page and concern intensified as it became clear there had been no reported sightings of O’Connor for more than 24 hours.

But she surfaced not long after, Wilmette police confirmed.

A concerned caller had contacted police after seeing O’Connor on a bicycle on Sunday.

One report said O’Connor was riding a Raleigh motorised bike wearing a black parka, black leather pants and a sweatshirt with “Ireland” on the back.

O’Connor appears to have posted on her official Facebook page at around 9am on Sunday, addressing her adult son Jake and talking about her custody battle with her ex-partner Donal Lunny.

But she also wrote a post on 14 May declaring that she was heading for North Carolina to take part in a protest about the new legislation there that dictates that transgender people must use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate even if that does not match their gender identity.

O’Connor has previously posted distressing updates on Facebook, including last November, when she wrote that she had taken an overdose.

“There is only so much any woman can be expected to bear,” she wrote. “What was done to me this week was appalling cruelty.

“The last two nights finished me off. I have taken an overdose. There is no other way to get respect. I am not at home, I’m at a hotel, somewhere in Ireland, under another name.”

O’Connor was later found safe.

The singer has opened up about her struggles with suicidal thoughts in the past. In 2007, she told Oprah Winfrey that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attempted suicide on her 33rd birthday.

In recent weeks, she became embroiled in controversy after the death of Prince, who wrote her breakthrough hit Nothing Compares 2 U.

The talkshow host Arsenio Hall filed a $5m lawsuit against O’Connor after she posted on Facebook to allege that Hall had given Prince drugs “over the decades”.

She said she had reported Hall to the Carver County sheriff’s office in Minnesota, which is investigating Prince’s death, and that “anyone imagining Prince was not a longtime hard drug user is living in cloudcuckooland”.

O’Connor had been living in Wilmette, on the northern outskirts of Chicago, since February, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

The singer has performed at least twice in Chicago this year, with blues legend Buddy Guy in January and at a cancer charity fundraiser at the Metro Chicago theater in March.

O’Connor has recorded 10 solo albums, and became a global star in the early 1990s, but she has never been a stranger to controversy. She memorably tore apart a photo of Pope John Paul II during Saturday Night Live in 1992, declaring: “Fight the real enemy!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Joanna Walters in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Sinéad O'Connor – review

Hugh Hefner is threatening to replace the Pope as the Irish singer's personal bugbear, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

03, Jul, 2011 @5:29 PM

Article image
Chicago suburb to become first city to provide reparations to Black residents for housing
Evanston city council to vote on the issue on 22 March for an initial disbursement of about $400,000 for housing needs

Oliver Milman

11, Mar, 2021 @2:58 PM

Article image
Sinéad O'Connor warns Miley Cyrus about believing it's 'cool to be naked'

Irish singer warns young US singing star she is in danger of being 'pimped', Cyrus responds by highlighting O'Connor's struggles with mental illness, writes Harriet Gibsone

Harriet Gibsone

03, Oct, 2013 @5:34 PM

Article image
Sinead O'Connor splits from fourth husband after three weeks
Singer married Barry Herridge, a therapist from Dublin, in a drive-through ceremony in Las Vegas on 8 December

Ben Quinn

27, Dec, 2011 @7:45 PM

Article image
Sinéad O'Connor threatens to sue Miley Cyrus over mental health tweets
American singer likened O'Connor to actor Amanda Bynes, who has been undergoing psychiatric treatment

Ben Quinn

04, Oct, 2013 @6:52 PM

Article image
Sinéad O'Connor: 'I define success differently'
From her public search for a husband to attempted suicide and hospitalisation, the Irish singer has had a turbulent year even by her own standards

Caroline Sullivan

01, Mar, 2012 @8:00 PM

Article image
Sinéad O’Connor withdraws application to join Sinn Féin
Singer accuses republican party of lacking courage and not being serious about ending the partition of Ireland

Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent

28, Jan, 2015 @10:20 AM

Article image
Evidence from Chicago detective's cases re-examined for multiple exonerations
Richard Zuley’s police work condemned three people who proclaim innocence as Chicago attorney requests evidence be re-examined

Spencer Ackerman in Chicago

19, Feb, 2015 @5:32 PM

Article image
Sinéad O'Connor review – radiant return for singer still seeking truth
In her first UK concert since 2015 and her recent conversion to Islam, the Irish singer AKA Shuhada Sadaqat movingly finds solace on stage

Caroline Sullivan

17, Dec, 2019 @11:11 AM

Article image
Bernie Sanders’ Chicago 2020 speech focuses on fight against racism
The Vermont senator concluded a two-part launch in the Windy City, harking back to his student days in the civil rights era

Lauren Gambino in Chicago

04, Mar, 2019 @3:56 AM