Vitalij Kuprij, a member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and a highly regarded Ukrainian-American pianist and keyboardist, died on Tuesday (Feb. 20) at 49, according to his friend and musical colleague Lars Eric Mattsson, a Finnish guitarist and producer.

Kuprij performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their latest seasonal tour throughout November and December 2023. And before rejoining the symphonic heavy metal band in 2021, he was also included in their lineup from 2009 to 2019.

Indeed, the keyboardist was part of the group for 17 winter tours in total, where Trans-Siberian Orchestra are known for their holiday-driven stage show based on their several Christmas albums.

READ MORE: See the Dates From Vitalij Kuprij's Last Tour With Trans-Siberian Orchestra

"Woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij has passed away last night," Mattsson said. "The Ukranian born virtuoso was living in Philadelphia and recently came off another hugely successful tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra."

Keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij performs onstage with Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 2014.
Kevin Nixon, Getty Images

He continued, "I have known and worked with Vitalij for over 20 years and he always talked about seeing me here in Finland to go fishing, which was his second love after music."

Mattsson added, "We have recorded together several times, fist time was for the debut album of Book of Reflections 20 years ago and then later for my MATTSSON concept album War. My record label Lion Music Record Label has released a lot of his music including three solo albums, his band Artension and more.

He concluded, "You will be deeply missed my friend!" Mattsson did not address Kuprij's cause of death.

R.I.P. Vitalij Kuprij

Kuprij was born on April 6, 1974. As a musician, he gained recognition for his virtuosity on the piano and his versatility in various genres, mainly the classical and progressive genres, ultimately dovetailing with the symphonic metal sound of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Over the course of his career, Kuprij became associated with other prominent bands and musical projects. Notably, he joined the neoclassical metal band Artension in the late 1990s, where his keyboard skills added depth and complexity to the group's sound, showcasing his ability to blend classical influences with the energy of metal.

Beyond Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Artension, Kuprij also worked with the Mark Boals-fronted Ring of Fire as well as the Vivaldi Metal Project.

Loudwire sends it deepest condolences out to Kuprij's family, friends and bandmates, and the entire TSO family.

Lars Eric Mattsson Remembers Trans-Siberian Orchestra Keyboard Player Vitalij Kuprij

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Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff

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