VIBE is extremely sad to report Soul Train legend, Don Cornelius, was found dead earlier this morning. The body of the longtime host/founder of the seminal music program was discovered at his Sherman Oaks, Ca home at 4 AM this morning.
Law Enforcement told TMZ Cornelius died from a gun shot wound to the head, which they believe was self inflicted. Don was 75-years old at the time of his death.
Cornelius served as host of Soul Train from its debut in 1971 to 1993. The show aired until 2006. He was loved by many and helped introduce the world to a number of classic artists.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story
UPDATE: OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM SOUL TRAIN CEO KENARD GIBBS AND MAGIC JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN OF SOUL TRAIN HOLDINGS
“We are overwhelmed with the news regarding the passing of Don Cornelius. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with his family at this time. He was a true television visionary and his contributions to African American culture, music, and entertainment are incomparable. The outpouring of affection and tributes to his legacy are a true testament to the profound impact that his life’s work had on many generations.” -Kenard Gibbs, CEO of Soul Train Holdings
“Don Cornelius was a pioneer, an innovator, and a trailblazer. He was the first African-American to create, produce, host and more importantly OWN his own television show. Soul Train was a nationally syndicated show that paved the way for singers, musicians and dancers, giving them the ultimate platform to showcase their talents when no one else would. Every Saturday morning I looked forward to watching Soul Train, as did millions of other people. Soul Train taught the world how to dance! Don’s contribution to us all is immeasurable. He will truly be missed. I thank him for trusting me with his Soul Train brand and I will carry on his legacy through it. My condolences to his son and my good friend Tony Cornelius and the entire Cornelius family.” -Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Soul Train Holdings Chairman
UPDATE: JOINT STATEMENT FROM LEGENDARY ‘SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA’ PRODUCERS AND PIONEERS KENNETH GAMBLE & LEON HUFF ON THE PASSING OF SOUL TRAIN CREATOR DON CORNELIUS.”
“Don Cornelius and his creation of ‘Soul Train’ and its legacy had a great impact on American culture. Don’s vision allowed for African-American artists to be exposed to people all over the world through the power of television. We were glad to help Don Cornelius fulfill his dream and legacy by creating the theme song for his hit show. The ‘Soul Train’ and TSOP brands will forever be inseparable. We thank Don Cornelius for his tremendous contributions to the entertainment world. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to Don’s family and everyone he touched.”