Outspoken Irish singer Sinead O'connor is to retire from music this summer (03).

It's thought her drastic decision may be linked to a fatigue syndrome that recently caused O'Connor to cancel a string of European performances with British dance act Massive Attack. She was reportedly "advised to rest as much as possible over the next few months".

The controversial NOTHING COMPARES 2 U hitmaker - who once tore up a picture of THE POPE on stage - made the announcement on her official website.

She says, "As of July 2003 I shall be retiring from the music business in order to pursue a different career. The last recordings I will make will be (believe it or not) a track for Dolly Parton's upcoming tribute album and a track for (Irish accordionist) SHARON SHANNON's forthcoming album.

"Thanks to all of you for a great time and a great education. I would request that as of July, since I seek no longer to be a 'famous' person, and instead I wish to live a 'normal' life, could people please afford me my privacy.

"I am a very shy person, believe it or not. So I ask with love, that I be left in peace and privacy by people who love my records too. And I hope it doesn't sound rude. It ain't meant rude. I am glad that ye are helped by my songs. So help me too, by giving me what is best for me, a private life."

25/04/2003 08:52