Don Cornelius, “Soul Train” Creator, Found Dead from Apparent Suicide
The world of music has lost another legend.
“Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius was found dead at his home in Los Angeles early Wednesday morning (Feb 1), and cops believe it was from an apparent suicide.
According to the LAPD, police responded to a call of a shooting at Cornelius’ home this morning before they found him at around 4am PST with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was 75 years old.
Don Cornelius, a former DJ and radio reporter, premiered “Soul Train” — an R&B themed youth-oriented dance show — on Chicago’s independent TV network WCIU.
The show was moved to syndication the following year when stations in several other cities started to pick it up.
When “Soul Train” moved to Los Angeles, it became a national hit before becoming an international hit, running in syndication for 25 years before going off the year in 2006.
Cornelius ended his run as host of the show in 1993, but remained its executive producer.
Over the years, the Soul Train brand expanded, and had become more popular, with awards shows like the Soul Train Music Awards, honoring R&B, jazz and gospel performers, and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, which focuses on female artists.
According to TMZ, Cornelius underwent a bitter divorce in 2009 and told an L.A. judge that he was experiencing “significant health issues” and wanted to finalize the divorce proceedings before he died.
The Los Angeles Times reported that there was no sign of foul play at the scene of his death, but they are still investigating.
In a 2010 interview with the Times, Mr. Cornelius said he was excited about a moving project he was developing about “Soul Train.”
“We’ve been in discussions with several people about getting a movie off the ground. It wouldn’t be the ‘Soul Train’ dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project,” he said. “It’s going to be about some of the things that really happened on the show.”
Soul Train, which ran for 35 years straight, is known as the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history.