Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Don Cornelius

Commits Suicide

2/1/2012 6:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Don Cornelius Dead of Suicide at 75
Don Cornelius
-- who famously created "Soul Train" was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, CA home this morning ... and law enforcement sources tell us it appears he committed suicide.

We're told cops discovered the body at around 4 AM PT. Law enforcement sources tell us ... Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.

We're told Cornelius was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"Soul Train" changed the landscape of television when it debuted in 1971 and ran until 2006.

020112_don_stillvideo platform video management video solutions video player

Officials have notified Don's family.

Cornelius was 75.

During Don's bitter divorce proceedings in 2009, he told an L.A. judge he was suffering from "significant health issues" and wanted to "finalize this divorce before I die."

Cornelius was arrested in 2008 for beating up his wife. He pled no contest to misdemeanor domestic violence and was placed on 3 years probation. His probation just terminated.

The divorce was granted in 2010.

Sources close to Don tell us ... the TV icon was plagued with health issues for years ... including a stroke and a condition that required brain surgery.

8:10 AM PST --
Shawn Holley -- Don's lawyer and good friend -- tells TMZ, "This is devastating news. Don was a kind, funny and brilliant man. Even though his many health battles had left him frail, he remained vibrant, courtly and always sharp as a tack."



No Avatar


For anybody wanting to see the mighty Don Cornelius in action, here’s a best of Soul Train video I made a couple of months ago.

964 days ago


RIP, Cornelius.

Sad ending to his life.

964 days ago


He must have really been in bad shape to end his life. I know today is the 1st and rent is due- but he had money to pay it....just saying.

964 days ago


The guy was a sympathy here...

964 days ago


The guy was a sympathy from me....

964 days ago


It is sad it came to this for him. He was probably distraught over what has become of African American "music" and decided he preferred to end it all. (For support on this theory, see the story posted here on TMZ that even BET has banned Nicki Minaj's video. How bad do you have to be for that to happen?) RIP, Don. You don't have to listen to the crap playing on hip-hop and rap radio stations anymore.

964 days ago


so sad to hear. he will be greatly missed.

964 days ago


Good riddance. The world is now a better place without this RACIST on it.


And no suprise with the SHC connection.

964 days ago


He just made black history.

964 days ago


This is just so sad... RIP Mr. Cornelius.

964 days ago


How is it that we as country allow us to take our pets & put them out of misery but not our sick elders??? Inhumane, sick & twisted it is!!! Or the fact he was loved by millions but died all alone with no support. Just heart breaking!! REST IN PEACE DON!! <3

964 days ago


Nope, dont believe he committed suicide.

964 days ago


Statement issued from Soul Train productions:

Statement from Soul Train Holdings, LLC CEO Kenard Gibbs:

We are overwhelmed with the news regarding the passing of Don Cornelius. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with his family at this time. He was a true television visionary and his contributions to African American culture and music entertainment are immeasurable. The outpouring of affection and tributes to his legacy are a true testament to the profound impact that his life’s work had on many generations. - Kenard Gibbs, Partner/CEO Soul Train Holdings, LLC

By now, you have read reports of the passing of our beloved Don Cornelius on AP or other credible news sources. We at are saddened to hear the news and are praying for Mr. Cornelius’ family and friends. At this time, please take a moment to share your love through a comment below or on our Facebook fan page. In the spirit of support and positivity, share your favorite Soul Train video from our video gallery, YouTube page or tweet us you most memorable Soul Train moment today.

Wishing you Love, Peace and Sooouulll

964 days ago


I'm so sad to hear he did this to himself. I don't think this is the answer for anyone, especially at the age of 75! He's lived such a long life to just end it like this?!! I just don't understand that kind of sadness! My condolence to the family and to the world. We will miss you Mr. Cornelius, may God forgive you!
I hope you find real Peace, Love and Soul where ever you may be. God Bless!

964 days ago


That's so sad he chose to go out that way...He will truly be missed. Sometimes we can't overcome life problems whether its mental or physical...May GOD have mercy on him....RIP..XOXO

964 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web