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Trans-Siberian Orchestra Creator + Guitarist Paul O’Neill Dies at 61

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Sad news to report from theatrical rock phenoms Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Paul O’Neill, who created Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has passed away at age 61.

Before founding Trans-Siberian Orchestra and playing guitar in the group, O’Neill worked for Leber-Krebs Inc., the management company that helped launch the careers of Aerosmith, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, The New York Dolls, Scorpions, Joan Jett and many others. He later made a name for himself as a prolific producer. O’Neill’s first major releases came with Aerosmith’s Classics Live I and Classics Live II in 1986 and 1987, respectively. From there, he became the go-to producer and co-writer for Savatage, manning the board for 10 albums from the American band.

After working with Metal Church and Badlands, O’Neill achieved perhaps his greatest musical accomplishment by forming TSO. The theatrical holiday act has released six full-length albums under O’Neill’s guidance, with five of them reaching platinum, multi-platinum or gold status by the RIAA.

TSO shared the news of O’Neill’s passing from “chronic illness” in a Facebook post:

TMZ reports, “Paul was found dead in a Tampa hotel room. There are no signs of foul play, but police don’t know yet how long he was deceased before they responded to a 911 call. We’re told the Medical Examiner has his body now … Law enforcement sources tell us there was no sign of foul play, and it’s unclear how long he was deceased before cops responded to the 911 call.”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra had its strongest touring year in 2016, selling almost a million concert tickets and grossing a staggering $57 million. Throughout TSO’s existence, the collective has played over 1,800 gigs for more than 14 million fans, while taking in $625 million in ticket sales.

We’d like to thank Paul O’Neill for his invaluable contributions to rock and metal and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.

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