Trans-Siberian Orchestra Founder Dead at 61

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Courtesy of WENN Newsdesk

Paul O’Neill, the brains behind the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has died, aged 61.

The musician was found dead in a Florida hotel room on Wednesday night after battling poor health for months, according to multiple reports.

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There are no signs of foul play and the Tampa medical examiner is currently conducting an autopsy. A Facebook post confirming O’Neill’s death reads: “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.” O’Neill founded the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996. The band, famous for its heavy rock versions of Christmas tunes, has sold more than 12 million albums. The group’s second album, 1998’s The Christmas Attic, propelled them to international fame. O’Neill and his bandmates have also released a series of rock operas, including Christmas Eve and Other Stories, Beethoven’s Last Night, and The Lost Christmas Eve. The band leader was working on a Broadway-bound rock opera about the Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1918 at the time of his death. It is not known if this project will continue and there’s no word on the future of TSO without O’Neill.

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