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'Soul Train' Creator Don Cornelius Found Dead

The creator and host of the popular dance show is believed to have committed suicide.

Don Cornelius, the creator and host of the long running TV show "Soul Train,” died early Wednesday morning from an apparent suicide. He was 75.

According to Los Angeles County Coroner's, Cornelius shot himself in the head around 4 A.M. at his home located on the 12600 block of Mulholland Drive.

Don Cornelius was the creator and long time host of "Soul Train" (Photo courtesy of
Don Cornelius was the creator and long time host of "Soul Train" (Photo courtesy of

"I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius,'' record producer Quincy Jones said in a statement.

"Before MTV there was Soul Train. That will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched,” said Jones.

As the creator and host of "Soul Train," Cornelius helped to break down racial barriers and broaden the reach of black culture through the funky dance steps and groovy music that appeared throughout the 30 year history of "Soul Train."

"Don Cornelius was a pioneer & a trailblazer,'' former Lakers Star Magic Johnson wrote on his Twitter page today. "He was the first African-American to create, produce, host & more importantly OWN his own show.”

Fans remembered Cornelius today by placing flowers on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame near the corner of La Brea Avenue.

Also reacting to Cornelius’s death was Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“I am shocked and stunned to hear this news,'' Jackson told KNX 1070 this morning. "I talked with Don a few days ago."

Jackson added that there were no signs that Cornelius was upset when they talked.

"So many artists got their access to television through Don. He was a transformer," said Jackson.

Cornelius was born on September 27, 1936 and grew up on the south side of Chicago. He worked as a police officer and once pulled over radio personality Ed Cobb.

Cobb enjoyed Cornelius’s voice so much that he invited him to his station.Cornelius made a demo tape and was then hired as an announced at WVON.

He started "Soul Train" in 1971 and hosted the show until 1993. In 2006, the show ceased production.

Watch this video of the Beastie Boys performing on "Soul Train." Check out their ode to Cornelius around 2:30:

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