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Don Cornelius Dead: ‘Soul Train’ Creator, Host Dies of Apparent Suicide

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Don Cornelius, who helped popularize black music and culture through ‘Soul Train,’ a show he created and hosted for more than two decades, was found dead earlier today (Feb. 1) in Sherman Oaks, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 75. According to sources, the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police arrived at Cornelius’ apartment at around 4AM, and while they apparently found no signs of foul play, they are investigating the case, the Times reports.

A TV institution, Cornelius launched ‘Soul Train’ in 1970 and hosted the show until 1993. As the face of the so-called “Hippest Trip in America,” the stylish, smooth-talking Cornelius presented numerous R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop superstars — everyone from Aretha Franklin and Barry White to Heavy D and Ice-T — to eager fans.

Famous for its dance lines — which allowed audience members to show off their best moves and flashiest outfits — the show continued for more than a decade after Cornelius’ departure and went off the air in 2006.

Just two years ago, Cornelius spoke to the Times about a ‘Soul Train’ movie he was looking to develop.

“We’ve been in discussions with several people about getting a movie off the ground. It wouldn’t be the ‘Soul Train’ dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project,” he said. “It’s going to be about some of the things that really happened on the show.”

Watch ‘”Soul Train” Creator Don Cornelius Dead at 75′

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Watch Red Carpet Coverage of the Soul Train Awards

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