Report: Trans-Siberian Orchestra Founder Paul O’Neill Died From Prescription Drug Intoxication [Update]
Update: Paul O'Neill's family has issued a statement via the Trans-Siberian Orchestra website. It reads as follows:
Paul’s family has been inspired and thankful for the outpouring of support, well-wishes, and prayers, and we thank you for your ongoing respect for their personal privacy.
At this time they would like to share a few more details about the passing of Paul O'Neill:
The Hillsborough, Florida medical examiner's office has determined the official cause of Paul O’Neill’s death as accidental, resulting from an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications to treat his numerous chronic illnesses (including bone augmentation surgery, complications from spinal fusion surgery, heart disease, and hypertension).
Back in April, it was revealed that Trans-Siberian Orchestra founder Paul O'Neill had died at the age of 61. At the time, a statement was released that the guitarist had "passed away from chronic illness," but TMZ reports that a copy of his autopsy report suggests that the official cause of death was "intoxication."
According to the report, O'Neill died from a mix of methadone, codeine, diazepam and doxylamine (an antihistamine). The combination of the prescription drugs factored into his passing. The report lists "intoxication" as the official cause of death.
However, the report also mentions that the musician was battling a number of other ailments. Among the conditions were mild heart disease, hypertension and a moderate hardening of the arteries. The medical examiner also determined that the death was accidental.
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.
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