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Trans-Siberian Orchestra Founder Paul O'Neill 911 Call Stiff, Beyond Hope

4/6/2017 11:35 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Paul O'Neill -- founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra -- was stiff and clearly non-revivable when a hotel employee found him and called 911.

In the emergency call -- obtained by TMZ -- the dispatcher tries walking the employee through how to perform CPR before abandoning the plan after determining the body was "stiff."

As we reported ... law enforcement sources tell us there was no sign of foul play, and it's unclear how long he was deceased before cops responded to the 911 call.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Founder Paul O'Neill Dies at 61

4/6/2017 6:04 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Paul O'Neill -- founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra -- has died after a private battle with a chronic illness, the band confirms. He was 61.

Law enforcement tells TMZ ... Paul was found dead in a Tampa hotel room. There are no signs of foul play, but police don't know yet how long he was deceased before they responded to a 911 call. We're told the Medical Examiner has his body now.

Paul's band says, "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," a statement said on the band's official Facebook page.

"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 created the band back in 1996 and hit it big with its metal-infused take on classic Christmas songs. The band has sold more than 12 MILLION albums.

Rainbow Flag Creator Gilbert Baker Dead at 65

3/31/2017 3:02 PM PDT
Breaking News

Gilbert Baker, the man who created the rainbow flag for gay pride, has died ... according to his close friend.

Gilbert was an openly gay man and civil rights activist. He created the flag for the 1978 Pride Festival in San Francisco. According to his website, Gilbert taught himself to sew at a young age after serving time in the army, and used those skills to make banners for gay and anti-war protest marches.

He was heavily involved within the San Francisco gay rights movement and had a close friendship with Harvey Milk.

Gilbert's friend and fellow activist, Cleve Jones, posted the news of his death, writing, "I am heartbroken. My dearest friend in the world is gone ... he gave me forty years of love and friendship. I can't stop crying. I love you forever Gilbert Baker." 

Cleve didn't say how Gilbert died. 

He was 65 years old.

R.I.P. 

Cycling Legend Dies From Injuries ... Hit By Car During Race

3/31/2017 9:42 AM PDT
Breaking News

Mike Hall -- one of the most famous endurance cyclists in the world -- died early Friday morning after he was hit by a car during a race in Australia. 

The 35-year-old was competing in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race from Perth to Sydney when the collision occurred near the end of the 3,300 mile race. 

Hall was in 2nd place during the race when the crash occurred around 6:20 AM on the Monaro Highway.

Event organizers immediately canceled the race following the incident. 

Cops are investigating the crash and the driver of the car is reportedly cooperating with police. 

'Gilbert Grape' Star Darlene Cates Dead at 69

3/28/2017 5:58 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Darlene Cates, who played the Gilbert's mom in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," has died.

We're told Darlene died Sunday morning in her sleep ... this according to family.

She was discovered by the screenwriter of the movie, Peter Hedges, after seeing her on "Sally Jessy Raphael." The show was titled, "Too Heavy to Leave Their House." Darlene talked about obesity and the pelvic infection that caused her to gain nearly 150 pounds.  

Hedges offered Darlene the role of Leo DiCaprio's morbidly obese mom in 'Gilbert Grape,' which became an instant classic.

RIP 

John Singleton Did You Know This About Tupac?

3/28/2017 7:29 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

John Singleton's always dropping knowledge ... his subject this time around -- Tupac.

The famed director was leaving The London NYC on Monday when we asked about Pac's many talents ... and we're not talking just rap skills. Remember, he co-starred in John's "Poetic Justice" back in '93 ... so he would know.

This clip is really interesting, especially considering Tupac's about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Music only scratches the surface, according to John.

Zayn Malik Cousin Dies from Brain Tumor

3/28/2017 6:46 AM PDT

Zayn Malik's young cousin has died after battling a brain tumor for years.

Arshiya Malik was only 5, but had been diagnosed with the tumor several years ago. Zayn took a touching photo with Arshiya and his then fiancée, Perrie Edward, back in 2014 ... the same year his family said, "Doctors have given up on Arshiya but she is still fighting brave like a soldier."

Zayn was "really close" to Arishiya, according to the Daily Mail. He hasn't commented yet about her passing.

The little girl's mother posted a pic, saying ... "An angel wrote in the book of life my baby's date of birth, then whispered as she closed the book.. 'Too beautiful for earth.'"

Carrie Fisher Gary The Dog Gets A New Forever Home But Not With Billie

3/28/2017 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Carrie Fisher's beloved French bulldog, Gary, was supposed to live with Billie Lourd after Carrie's passing, but it turns out that's NOT the case.

We've learned Carrie's assistant, Corby McCoin, took Gary almost immediately and is now the outright owner.

Days after the actress died in December, Carrie's family said Billie would get the dog for several reasons ... not the least of which was that Gary was best friends with Billie's bulldog, Tina.  

As for why things changed, as everyone knows Gary was Carrie's constant companion, and Corby was a fixture in Carrie's life ... always around the dog. It ultimately made more sense for Gary to live with the person -- not the dog -- with whom he felt a connection.

We're told Corby's not cashing in by taking Gary ...  she just feels taking Gary is the right thing to do.

Paul Walker Surfer Bros Beg City Council for 12 Foot Statue ... 'A Beacon of Headlights'

3/27/2017 11:51 AM PDT

Paul Walker could be standing tall in San Clemente thanks to some surfer bros who begged the City Council for a statue of their hero "in the midst of gnarly times."

Self-proclaimed freelance journalist Chad Kroeger made the pitch at last Tuesday's meeting, and his rationale for the 12 foot Paul statue is comedy gold ... and also, kinda touching. Chad's buddy gets up there too for some fond words on "unifying figure" Paul.

Dude, we can't even describe it ... you just have to watch this.

Tupac Shakur Hall of Fame Induction Locks In Snoop Dogg

3/26/2017 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tupac Shakur's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame next month will be a mini Death Row Records reunion because Snoop Dogg's leading the tribute, and we're told Dr. Dre's on the wish list too.

We're told Snoop jumped at the chance to lead a group of West Coast rappers in paying tribute to Pac. We're told Dr. Dre's been asked to join the ceremony as well.

Our sources say the plan is for the performance to feature a mix of at least 3 songs performed by Snoop -- and "California Love" is definitely on the setlist.

This year's ceremony takes place April 7 at the Barclays Center. 

Auntie Fee 911 Call Alert Before Ambulance Rushed Her to Hospital

3/26/2017 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Auntie Fee -- the viral video sensation also known as Chef Sista Girl -- was apparently alert before getting rushed to the hospital where she died after suffering a massive heart attack.

In the emergency call -- obtained by TMZ -- the dispatcher asks the 911 caller if Fee is the person he hears in the background before she screams "Oh my god!"

We broke the story ... Fee was rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center last week after complaining of chest pains. She suffered the heart attack at the hospital and died a week later.

Auntie Fee -- real name Felicia O'Dell -- was 59.

Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds Public Memorial Draws Hundreds To Forest Lawn

3/25/2017 2:56 PM PDT

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds' public memorial just wrapped ... and included plenty of singing, dancing and memories.

The memorial was held at Forest Lawn Saturday inside a 1,200 seat theater, which was almost at capacity. Debbie's son, Todd, led the ceremony, which featured a video tribute, performances from Debbie's dance studio and closing words from Dan Aykroyd.

You'll remember, Fisher died in December days after suffering a massive heart attack on a flight into L.A. Her mother, Debbie passed away the following day after a stroke.

The two are buried together at Forest Lawn.

Chuck Berry 911 Call 'He's Barely Breathing'

3/23/2017 9:26 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Chuck Berry was barely breathing when he was found unresponsive in his home Saturday and the 911 caller began immediate efforts to save his life ... but it was too late.

In the emergency call -- obtained by TMZ -- a man is heard telling dispatchers right away it's Berry who is down. He explains Berry's lifeless and barely breathing and the dispatcher gives CPR instructions.

The 90-year-old rock legend died shortly after the call. 

As we reported ... cops responded to a cardiac arrest call, but Chuck's cause of death will be listed as natural causes.


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