The king of Soul Train is with us no more. Don Cornelius was found dead in his home in Sherman Oaks, California this morning. Police say it appears that he killed himself.
TMZ is reporting that police found the body around 4 am PT and that he’d died from a gunshot wound to the head. Police believe the wound was self-inflicted, indicating suicide. Cornelius was rushed to the hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.
Cornelius started the show “Soul Train” virtually on his own in 1971. The show ran until 2006 and for many years defined black style and entertainment.
Cornelius was born in Chicago and one of the early employees of the historic WVON radio station. He gave exposure to numerous black entertainers, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and many others. He was known for his smooth style and catch phrases, such as “… and you can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”
In the video below, Dr. Boyce Watkins and Yvette Carnell discuss the legacy of Don Cornelius and Soul Train: