Today, the world has lost an icon and innovator in the music industry.
Don Cornelius, creator and host of the popular TV series “Soul Train”, was found dead in his home in Sherman Oaks, CA this morning at around 4 a.m. Pacific time.
According to TMZ.com and WashingtonPost.com, law enforcement sources reported that Cornelius appears to have committed suicide; he suffered a gunshot wound to the head which is believed to have been self-inflicted. He was rushed to a nearby hospital by the Los Angeles Fire Department, where he was pronounced dead. He was 75 years old.
Cornelius is known for the success of “Soul Train”, airing from 1971 to 2006 and being syndicated in more than 100 markets. It served as a platform for soul music receiving a wider audience that changed the landscape of television. As its producer, writer and host, Cornelius helped stars like The Jackson Five, Earth, Wind & Fire, and a host of other well-known artists gain national and international exposure. He would host the show until 1993 and was well-known for his signature sign-off: “I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and sooooouuuullll!”
“Soul Train” would also give birth to the popular “Soul Train Line”, an imprint in popular culture used at parties, weddings and social events.
The show would later spin off the popular Soul Train Music Awards and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, which still air to this day.