Sad news to pass along this morning. Don Cornelius, the creator and host of Soul Train, was found dead in his California home earlier today. TMZ is reporting that the 75-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after struggling with health issues and a messy divorce over the course of the last few years.
His longtime friend, Quincy Jones, just released the following statement to USA Today: “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius. Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was Soul Train, that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don’s family and loved ones.”
Back in 2010, VH1 put a spotlight on Cornelius and the revolutionary program that he created with the VH1 Rock Doc, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America. To remember exactly how awesome Soul Train was, take a look at this incredible footage of the Soul Train audience doing a line-dance to “Respect Yourself” by the legendary Staple Singers.
We’ll have more on this breaking story for you as it occurs. Until then, our sincere condolences go out to the family of Don Cornelius during this difficult time.