Chinese celebrities and fans mourned Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish band The Cranberries, who died in London on Monday. She was 46.
"I can't believe our goodbye in Limerick last September became a forever farewell," Gao Xiaosong, a renowned Chinese music executive and musician said on social media, "I miss her voice and style, which are remarkable and stand alone in the world."
Gao had visited O'Riordan, who was recovering from her back problem. "She had good spirit, and we talked a lot. But in the end, I could feel she was depressed and not really happy."
The Chinese musician once planned a big event in China called "This is Ireland" with various Irish artists set to participate. "Dolores at that time said she would support the event and will come to China to perform, but I never thought she would pass away so suddenly," he said. Praising her as one of the most talented female musicians in the last two or three decades, Gao said "she inspired a generation of female singers who had their own personalities."
According to a statement from her publicist, O'Riordan died "suddenly." The singer was in London for a short recording session, the statement added. No details were given on the cause of her death.
O'Riordan and Duran Duran's former tour manager, Don Burton, were married in 1994 and had three children. They divorced in 2014.
The remaining members of the Cranberries, Noel and Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler, said they were "devastated" and felt "very privileged to have been a part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries."
Irish President Michael D. Higgins said her death was "a big loss" to the Irish arts community, "Dolores O'Riordan and The Cranberries had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally. I recall with fondness the late Limerick TD Jim Kemmy's introduction of her and The Cranberries to me, and the pride he and so many others took in their successes."
Chinese fans also mourned O'Riordan on various social media platforms. Interesting, O'Riordan was known in China by many people as the one who inspired pop diva Faye Wong. Wong actually made a Chinese cover of The Cranberries' classic "Dreams," which were included in the soundtrack for Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's 1994 film "Chungking Express."
The Cranberries made their debut Chinese concert tour in 2011 in Shanghai and Beijing, to great success. They planned to return to China to perform last year in Beijing, Wuhan and Shenzhen, however, all the live concerts were cancelled due to O'Riordan's unexpected back problem.
"Dolores' back problem is in the mid to upper area of her spine and the breathing and diaphragmatic movements associated with singing put pressure on the muscles and nerves in that area and exacerbated the pain," The Cranberries once explained in a statement.
The Cranberries rose to global fame in the mid-1990s with a string of hits, including "Linger," "Zombie," "Dying in the Sun" and "Dreams." The group, from Limerick City, has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.