News: UPDATE: Don Cornelius' Fatal Gunshot, Death Ruled Suicide

Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012 2:29PM

Written by Biz Jones

After days of speculation and reporting, television icon Don Cornelius' unexpected death from a fatal gunshot wound has now been confirmed as a suicide.

According to reports, Cornelius killed himself with a gunshot to his head.

The agency made the determination after conducting an autopsy on Cornelius' body Friday. Investigators are still awaiting the results of toxicology tests before issuing a final report. Police quickly ruled out foul play after responding to Cornelius' Mulholland Drive home early Wednesday morning. His son had alerted authorities after receiving a call from his father. (Associated Press)

Details of his passing emerged online last Wednesday (February 1).

"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius was found dead at his Sherman Oaks on home Wednesday morning. Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius' home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing. The sources said there was no sign of foul play, but the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating. (Los Angeles Times)

Cornelius' "Soul Train" show marked the dawn of a new era in black entertainment.

Cornelius is best known as the creator of the dance/music franchise "Soul Train," which aired in syndication from October 1971 to March 2006. The show was the first major American TV venue for soul music. It was instrumental in bringing acts like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to a larger audience. Cornelius hosted the show from 1971-1993. He was known for closing each episode with the catchphrase: "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" The show spun off the Soul Train Awards and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.(Orlando Sentinel)

He hosted the show from 1970 to 1993, and the program continued to air for more than a decade after his exit.

Cornelius, with his deep voice, stylish clothes and Afro, provided a hipper alternative to Dick Clark and "American Bandstand" when his show debuted on Aug. 17, 1970. It was syndicated a year later, making Cornelius a national star. Although he dropped out as host in 1993, the show continued running until December 2007. (New York Daily News)

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