Although there’s no specific word on the cause of death, Trans-Siberian Orchestra producers and band leader Paul O’Neill died yesterday from a chronic illness at the age of 61. The band shared the following in a Facebook post:

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.

O’Neill’s entry into the industry was as a management assistant at Leber-Krebs. He eventually became a producer, working with the likes of Aerosmith, Badlands and Metal Church, but the band he worked the most with other than TSO was Savatage. Starting with 1987’s Hall of the Mountain King, he produced the rest of the Florida band’s albums, shaping them into a more progressive and symphonic band, and giving them great success with albums like Gutter Ballet and Streets: A Rock Opera. “Christmas Eve (Saravejo 12/24)” from 1995’s Dead Winter Dead, led to the formation of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the song not only jump-started that band’s career, but is still a holiday classic.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra have not only had a string of multi-platinum albums, but have become an incredibly successful fall and winter tour, with two different versions of the band touring. Last year in just 45 days, the tour made $56.9 million. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and extended band family of O’Neill.