It's been a quiet year for New Zealand's biggest pop star, Lorde, largely spent at home penning an album she hoped to release next year.
But in an email to fans, which she intros by saying "it's always been my intention to be transparent with you about my life and what happens to me", Ella Yelich-O'Connor has detailed the loss of her beloved dog, Pearl, and warned fans it could mean a delay to her next body of work.
The singer, who turns 23 next week, revealed her dog had been ill and died after suffering two cardiac arrests. "I was holding him when he went, and I know he knew that I was there. But this loss has been indescribably painful, and a light that was turned on for me has gone out," she wrote.
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She shared that Pearl came into her care last year and "changed everything for me" as the pair spent much of their "time alone together, him asleep under the piano as I played, or on the porch together ..."
According to Yelich-O'Connor, Pearl had been sick for most of his life but a specialist had identified the issue and "everything was looking good" as she administered new medications.
She has credited her dog with helping her write her next album, saying "he was instrumental to the discovery that was taking place. I felt he led me towards the ideas."
And with his passing, she has shared that it will take time for her to recalibrate, "now that there's no shepherd ahead of me, to see what the work is going to be."
She concludes her letter by asking fans for patience, writing, "I have lost my boy, and need some time to see the good again."
Lorde has previously released three albums: her debut, Pure Heroine, in 2013, followed by the EP, Love Club, and Melodrama in 2017.