This is so sad. The L.A. coroner has confirmed that legendary Don Cornelius is dead.
According to TMZ reports:
Don Cornelius — who famously created “Soul Train” was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, CA home this morning … and law enforcement sources tell us it appears he committed suicide.
We’re told cops discovered the body at around 4 AM PT. Law enforcement sources tell us … Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.
We’re told Cornelius was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Soul Train” changed the landscape of television when it debuted in 1971 and ran until 2006.
Officials have notified Don’s family.
Cornelius was 75.
During Don’s bitter divorce proceedings in 2009, he told an L.A. judge he was suffering from “significant health issues” and wanted to “finalize this divorce before I die.”
Cornelius was arrested in 2008 for beating up his wife. He pled no contest to misdemeanor domestic violence and was placed on 3 years probation. His probation just terminated.
The divorce was granted in 2010.
Sources close to Don tell us … the TV icon was plagued with health issues for years … including a stroke and a condition that required brain surgery.
This is a horrible start to Black History Month. Very disturbing news right?
Here are the official statements from the Soul Train Holdings company:
“We are overwhelmed with the news regarding the passing of Don Cornelius. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with his family at this time. He was a true television visionary and his contributions to African American culture, music, and entertainment are incomparable. The outpouring of affection and tributes to his legacy are a true testament to the profound impact that his life’s work had on many generations.”
-Kenard Gibbs, CEO of Soul Train Holdings
“Don Cornelius was a pioneer, an innovator, and a trailblazer. He was the first African-American to create, produce, host and more importantly OWN his own television show. Soul Train was a nationally syndicated show that paved the way for singers, musicians and dancers, giving them the ultimate platform to showcase their talents when no one else would. Every Saturday morning I looked forward to watching Soul Train, as did millions of other people. Soul Train taught the world how to dance! Don’s contribution to us all is immeasurable. He will truly be missed. I thank him for trusting me with his Soul Train brand and I will carry on his legacy through it. My condolences to his son and my good friend Tony Cornelius and the entire Cornelius family.”
-Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Soul Train Holdings Chairman
We also received official statements from Aretha Franklin and Gamble & Huff. Continue to read them on the next page.