Paul O'Neill, founder the arena prog rock outfit Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has passed away following a private battle with a chronic illness. He was 61.
The band confirmed the news in a Facebook post late last night (April 5). "He was our friend and our leader — a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul," it reads. "This is a pround and indescribable loss for us all."
Further details on his cause death have yet to be revealed, though the post did reveal that additional announcements are expected soon. Understandably, O'Neill's family has asked for privacy at this time.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was formed by producer, composer and lyricist O'Neill in 1996, enlisting Jon Oliva, Al Pitrelli and Robert Kinkel to establish the core creative team behind the project. Known best for their Christmas-themed releases and massive live shows, the group have sold more than 10 million albums and more than 10 million concert tickets worldwide.
Earlier in his career, O'Neill also produced albums for the likes Aerosmith, Badlands, Heaven, Metal Church and Savatage.