Legendary Soul Train Host Found Dead

Posted February 1st, 2012 at 9:05 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. television host and music promoter Don Cornelius has died. For more than 20 years, his iconic show Soul Train helped introduce African-American music stars to mainstream America.

Police say the 75-year-old Cornelius was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his Los Angeles home. Officials say the wound apparently was self-inflicted.

It is not clear why Cornelius would have ended his life, although there have been reports in recent years that his health was failing.

Tributes quickly poured in to honor the man who brought “soul music” to a mainstream TV audience from 1971 to 1993. Cornelius, a Chicago native, created the show in his hometown, then brought it to Los Angeles. It went on the air nationally a decade before the MTV network.

Singing legend Aretha Franklin, who appeared on Soul Train, called Cornelius' death “sad, stunning and downright shocking.” She called it a “huge and momentous loss.”

Composer-producer Quincy Jones said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of his friend and business partner.