Trans-Siberian Orchestra Founder Paul O’Neill Has Died At 61
Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:39:35
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Paul O'Neill, the founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has died at the age of 61. No cause of death has been announced at this time, however it seems to be related to a "chronic illness." The announcement was made on the band's Facebook page, saying:
"The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O'Neill has passed away from chronic illness.
He was our friend and our leader -- a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all.
We ask that you respect Paul's family's privacy now.
We will make additional announcements shortly."
O'Neill formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996, acting as producer, composer, and lyricist. It was initially supposed to be a metal band, but pivoted to symphonic rock after the surprise success of "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)." Over the course of their 20-plus year existence, the band sold over 10 million albums and became one of the world's most popular touring acts. Their theatrical shows, largely involving heavy-metal takes on holiday songs became popular around the globe. As a touring band, they were one of the most prolific and highest-grossing of the 2000s, performing to over 5 million people between 2000 and 2009. They donated $1 per ticket to charity for each of their live shows, and raised at least $11 million for good causes, according to the band's website.
Prior to forming Trans-Siberian Orchestra, O'Neill managed and produced for bands including Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Joan Jett.
Everyone has looked forward to hearing Trans-Siberian Orchestra in one way or another come the holiday season. Paul O'Neill was a talented composer, producer, and lyricist. He will be missed.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff