April 7 (UPI) -- Music composer and producer -- as well as Trans-Siberian Orchestra founder -- Paul O'Neill has died at the age of 61.
"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," the group said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "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."
Rolling Stone said O'Neill is best known for co-writing with Jon Oliva "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24," which combined the holiday songs "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells."
O'Neill began his career as the personal assistant to manager David Krebs at Leber-Krebs, a management company that worked with Aerosmith and AC/DC, and, over the years, earned producing credits on albums by Aerosmith, Savatage, Badlands, Heaven and Metal Church, the magazine said.