TAMPA, Fla. (CelebrityAccess) — Paul O'Neill, producer, composer, and founder of the progressive metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra has died. He was 61.
University of South Florida police spokeswoman Renna Reddick told The Associated Press that O'Neill that O’Neill was found dead by hotel staff in his room in a Tampa hotel on Wednesday.
According to the AP, Reddick said there were no signs of foul play and medical examiners were working to determine a cause of death.
In a note posted to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's website, his bandmates confirmed O’Neill's death and attributed it to a "chronic illness" but did not elaborate.
"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," the statement said.
O’Neill's career extends across multiple facets of the industry, from working as an assistant to veteran manager David Krebs to promoting Madonna and Sting tours in Japan.
In 1996, O’Neill founded the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which would on to become one of the best-selling live bands in the new millennium, according to Billboard. The band also bears the distinction of having skipped the club step of their development, moving directly to performing in theaters and arenas. The band is well known for their elaborate holiday productions, featuring complex arrangements of lights and special effects.
"I wanted to take the very best of all the forms of music I grew up on and merge them into a new style," O'Neill said of TSO in a biography of the band. "Basically I was building on the work of everybody I worshiped: the rock opera parts from bands like the Who; the marriage of classical and rock from bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Queen; the over-the-top light show from bands like Pink Floyd… I always wanted to do a full rock opera with a full progressive band and at least 18 lead singers." – Staff Writers