February 2, 2012- The creator of Soul Train, Don Cornelius, died Wednesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The seventy-five year old created the music and dance iconic TV program that helped bring black pop culture to the living rooms of Americans across the country.
Police found Cornelius’ body in his home in a wealthy area of Los Angeles known as Sherman Oaks. He was found at 4 am Wednesday and pronounced dead later in the morning at a nearby hospital.
Ed Winter, the Assistant Chief in the L.A. coroner’s office said the death had been reported as a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Immediately following the incident, it was not known why Cornelius might have killed himself. He had been battling failing health of late.
Cornelius launched his black pop music show in the early 70s in Chicago. He hosted it over 20 years. During his divorce in 2009, he told a divorce court he had been suffering from a number of health issues therefore, he wanted the divorce settlement to be taken care of quickly.
Soul Train aired until 2006 and became an integral part of pop culture history in the U.S. It helped the careers of unknowns such as the Jackson 5 and other previously known stars like James Brown.