Don Cornelius, a record producer and creator of the TV music show "Soul Train," has died. He was 75.
Police said Cornelius died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers responded to a Los Angeles-area home to investigate a shooting shortly before 4 a.m. on Wednesday, February 1, at his home near Los Angeles, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned. Cornelius was later taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Music mogul Quincy Jones said he is "shocked and deeply saddened" by his friend's sudden death.
"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," Jones said in a statement. "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."
"Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin called Cornelius' death "so sad, stunning and downright shocking and a huge and momentous loss to the African-American community and the world at large," adding: "Don Cornelius single handedly brought about a melding and unity of brother and sisterhood among young adults worldwide and globally with the unforgettable creation of'Soul Train.'"
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he was shocked and grief-stricken.
"I have known him since I was 19-years-old and James Brown had me speak on Soul Train," Sharpton said in a statement. "He brought soul music and dance to the world in a way that it had never been shown and he was a cultural game changer on a global level."
Cornelius stepped down as "Soul Train" host in 1993. The show started in 1970 in Chicago and aired nationally from 1971 to 2006.