TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA founder Paul O’Neill has died at the age of 61. The news was confirmed on the band’s Facebook page, saying his death was due to a “chronic illness.”
A statement reads: “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.”
Trans-Siberian Orchestra was founded around 1996 by Paul O’Neill, who brought together Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli (both members of Savatage) and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel to form the core of the creative team. The band gained in popularity when they began touring in 1999 after completing their second album, The Christmas Attic the year previous. In 2007, the Washington Post referred to them as “an arena-rock juggernaut” and described their music as “Pink Floyd meets Yes and The Who at Radio City Music Hall.” TSO has sold more than 10 million concert tickets and over 10 million albums. The band has released a series of rock operas: Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve, their two-disc Night Castle and Letters From the Labyrinth. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also known for their extensive charity work and elaborate concerts, which include a string section, a light show, lasers, “enough pyro to be seen from the International Space Station“, moving trusses, video screens, and effects synchronized to music.