Truly tragic news today that music pioneer Don Cornelius was found dead in his California home early this morning, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Cornelius, 75, was the founder and host of Soul Train, a long-running television dance show that revolutionized the music industry by providing the first national TV venue for R&B music. The show, which ran from 1971 to 2006, provided scores of black musicians and artists their first national exposure in an era when American Bandstand was doing so for traditionally white rock and pop performers. It changed the musical landscape.
Cornelius started as a radio DJ, and first launched Soul Train as a local show in Chicago in 1970, taking it to a nationwide audience the following year.
Recent years provided some controversy for Cornelius, who was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2008 and eventually was sentenced to three-years of probation.
Los Angeles police haven’t released any further details on Cornelius’ death. Authorities said officers were dispatched to his Mulholland Home mansion at 4 a.m. today and found Cornelius suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m., police said.
His legacy, however, lives on, as well it should. Rest in peace, Don.
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