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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.

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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.

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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."

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296 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

jetfanglo    

omg!....the first thing that went through my head was 'soooooooooooul train'......then i had a flood of memories of a time that still puts a smile on my face to this day........i hope he has found the peace that he wanted........godspeed......

902 days ago
32.

ThePoet    

This is horrible...but no matter the amount of money, fame and idolizing...some people just have problems that cannot be worked out. Look at half the celebrities today...Amy Winehouse, cried out for help and made millions off her addiction and STILL died alone and inebriated. Michael Jackson died with a doctor in his HOUSE. Money doesn't buy happiness it just pays people off to do what you say. These people needed real support --personal support not tabloids and money.

902 days ago
33.

Hugh    

Taking the Bullet Train Home.

902 days ago
34.

AlwaysOnTimeB    

I'm beyond SHOCKED!! Don Cornelius was/is an icon. I never would have seen this one coming. RIP Don!! :(

902 days ago
35.

THIN LIZZY    

Don't feel bad for Don. from what the article says, he probably had cancer and wanted to go out on his owm terms instead of shriveling up into nothing. Got divorced, took care of the money matters and checked out. Soldier till the end.

902 days ago
36.

DirtySouth    

This cat was responsible for the popularity of hundreds of acts. **** Clark and American Bandstand was great, but many acts had to already have a significant following for his show. Look at all the great Black performers Don brought to the forefront before American Bandstand had even heard of them.

902 days ago
37.

Letitia James    

As a child watching Soul Train at such an young age. It hurts to hear a sad story like this.He was the main icon to Soul Train. If it wasn't for this show I would've known what real music was.This is so sad. Praying for his family. RIP Don...We will miss you dearly.

902 days ago
38.

Hawk    

Now his soul has taken the train to hell

902 days ago
39.

kasey    

rest in peace, don cornelius!! i feel so sad! can't stop crying. so many saturdays i spent in front of the tv. just lying on the floor with my eyes glued to the screen, watching soul train. those are memories i'll never forget from my childhood. thank you, don!

on a sidenote: how do you "like" someone's comment?

902 days ago
40.

MG    

...and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace... and SOUL!

902 days ago
41.

Pebblebeach    

Don was the best at his craft RIP...hopefully he finalized his extremely bitter divorce on all counts as that was his wish before he died...wanted to make sure the X wife received only what she was entitled to, which is fair...if he died before the divorce she would have inherited everything and continued to be paid for the rest of her life for everything "Soul Train"... RIP Don...Soullllll Trainnnnn....

902 days ago
42.

JB    

Wow. This is so sad. When Soul Train started here in Chicago in the late 60's we use to stand out side in the heat, rain and snow to try to get in. The studio was so small it could only hold about 20 people, if that many. Those were really fun times. Don was so cool. RIP....

902 days ago
43.

Bob    

I certainly think that America would be a better place if more Blacks were like Don.

902 days ago
44.

Bob    

I certainly feel that the world would be a better place if more blacks in America were like Don.

902 days ago
45.

Lemonade    

We've lost one classic entertainer and one classy man. Sorry to see you go, Don. I know we'll meet again on that cosmic Soul Train.

902 days ago
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