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Illinois police find Irish singer Sinead O'Connor 'safe'

Police in Illinois say they have located Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor, after she appeared to vanish while in a distressed state. A series of emotional social media posts by the musician had raised concerns.

Police said they had found O'Connor after issuing a well-being check on Monday, a day after the musician was last seen in the upmarket Chicago suburb of Wilmette.

Earlier in the day, officers said they were "seeking to check the well-being" of the 49-year-old singer, who appeared to have been in a troubled state. On announcing she had been found, police also clarified she was no longer being treated as a missing person.

The police department said a caller had voiced concern after seeing her on a bicycle. The singer "reportedly left the Wilmette area for a bicycle ride yesterday [Sunday] at 6 a.m. (1100 UTC/GMT) and has not returned," the department said in a statement.

Police said they did not know what connection O'Connor might have to Wilmette.

On Sunday, O'Connor posted a confusing plea on Facebook, appearing to ask her son Jake to go to court and take custody of his younger brother from the Irish child and family agency Tusla.

Private life in public

It wasn't the first time O'Connor had laid her personal life bare on social media. In a post on Facebook last year, O'Connor suggested she had tried to kill herself with an overdose. She was also a longstanding and prominent critic of the Catholic Church on the issue of child abuse.

O'Connor was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than a decade ago. She told Oprah Winfrey in 2007 that she had struggled with thoughts of suicide and overwhelming fear before the diagnosis.

Earlier this month, US comedian Arsenio Hall filed a $5-million (4.4-million-euro) defamation suit against the Irish singer, who had accused him - again via Facebook - of supplying drugs to late music legend Prince.

Speculation had arisen

that the musician, who was found dead on April 21 at his Paisley Park home and recording studio, had taken an overdose.

O'Connor, whose biggest hit was the 1990 song written and later performed by Prince called "Nothing Compares 2 U," had made the insinuations against Hall on her Facebook page. She had also claimed that Hall had once "spiked" her drink with an unknown drug at a party.

Hall's lawsuit said O'Connor's statements had caused "substantial harm" to his reputation.

rc/msh (AP, Reuters)

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