Desi O’Neill was the loving and proud wife of composer, lyricist, producer, and songwriter, Paul O’Neill best known as the founder and leader of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Recent reports indicate Desi’s beloved husband died on April 5, after a brief battle with a chronic illness. Paul was found dead in a Tampa hotel room, he was 61.
TSO released a statement through the band’s official Facebook page confirming the sad news:
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.”
Paul is survived by his wife and their daughter in New York, Billboard reports.
O’Neill, a New York native, was raised in a home filled with art and literature. He was born February 23, 1956; the second of his parents’ ten children.
“Back then, in the 60s, it was OK to be smart and artistic,” he said. “I loved books. I loved music. I loved Broadway — and I had it right down the street, y’know? It really was a special, magical time.” He stated once.
Paul learned to play guitar and became a rock fan. He really found his calling behind the scenes as a composer, producer and conceptualist. He was talent manager David Krebs’ (of Leber-Krebs) personal assistant, working with acts such as Aerosmith (he co-produced the Classics Live I and II albums), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Def Leppard and many more. During the 80s O’Neill was a concert promoter in Japan, promoting arena shows and festivals.
Desi’s husband went onto create TSO in 1996 and hit it big with its metal-infused take on classic Christmas songs. The band has sold more than 12 MILLION albums.
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Many have expressed their sorrow and have paid tribute to the late composer, Jean Scrocco wrote on Facebook:
Last night was one of he worst nights of our lives. In the shock and horror of finding out that Paul O’Neill passed away we did not send out love and condolences to his families. Paul had two families.His wife Desi and daughter Ireland, both of whom he loved Madly. And his TSO family. Without the love and support he received from his TSO family his dreams would not have come to life. To Desi and Ireland our hearts are broken for you.
We send our condolences to Desi and the couple’s daughter Ireland.