“Love, peace and soul.” Don Cornelius would sign off with those words after every episode of his famed dance/music program “Soul Train,” and now the television show host and producer is dead.
On Wednesday morning (February 1), Cornelius was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Mulholland Drive after police responded to a shooting call, the LAPD confirmed to MTV News. According to TMZ, Cornelius was found with a gunshot wound to the head. Sources told the website that Cornelius’ death appears to be a suicide, however the LAPD could not confirm this information as the investigation is still ongoing.
Police discovered Cornelius’ body at around 4 a.m. PT on Wednesday and he was later taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was 75 years old.
A former radio disc jockey, Cornelius created, wrote and produced “Soul Train,” a popular dance/music show which spotlighted soul, R&B, and later, rap music. “Soul Train” was patterned after Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” but it helped to shine a light on black artists who many times didn’t get the recognition they deserved. James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson all appeared on the show as well as more contemporary artists like Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Ludacris.
“Soul Train” was most famous for its dancers who would show off the newest moves while partying to the latest hits. The “Soul Train” line, where dancers would line up on the left and right of the dance floor, allowing for one performer at a time to shimmy down the aisle, became a staple in American pop culture. Cornelius would go on to host the show for 22 years, between 1971 and 1993. He eventually handed over the reins to new hosts. The show ultimately went off the air in 2006.
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