Paul O’Neill, the founder of rock orchestra, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, has passed away from chronic illness, aged 61. The band statement via their official Facebook page can be read below:
“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.
We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now.
We will make additional announcements shortly.”
When Paul O’Neill first conceived Trans-Siberian Orchestra, his goal was as straightforward as it was incredibly ambitious. “The whole idea,” he explained, “was to create a progressive rock band that would push the boundaries (of the genre) further than any group before… Way, way further.”
With more than 10 million albums sold, TSO has inspired generations of fans to rediscover the multi-dimensional art form of the rock opera. Meanwhile, on the road, they have become one of the world’s top acts, with Billboard magazine naming TSO as one of the top touring artists of the past decade — a $20 million-plus production that has played to over 100 million people in 80+ cities, selling more than $280 million worth of tickets and presenting $11 million to charity.