‘Soul Train’ Creator Don Cornelius Dead at 75 of an Apparent Suicide

Don Cornelius in 2009 (Getty Images)

Don Cornelius in 2009 (Getty Images)

Shocking news this morning from Los Angeles; Don Cornelius, the creator and host of the classic music and dance show “Soul Train,” was found dead this morning, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the LA Times.

“Soul Train” ran nationally from 1971 to 2006, with Cornelius hosting it until 1993. His  smooth style and deep voice were signatures of the show, as were the cutting-edge soul and R&B acts whose songs would be played on the syndicated program. When the kids on the show would dance down the “Soul Train Line”, where dancers lined up on either side to witness each pair and its moves, it served as the nation’s first exposure to what would become dance floor staples in subsequent years.

TMZ reported that Cornelius was 75.

Cornelius was planning a movie about the creation of the show, but no news about it had come out since he discussed it with the LA Times in 2010.

UPDATE: Both BET and VH1 will have tributes to Cornelius; both networks will air the documentary “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America” (BET will have it tonight at 8 PM Eastern, and Vh1 will have it on Friday at 10 pm Eastern). BET will also be paying tribute on “106 & Park” tonight at 6 pm Eastern, and they’ll be replaying last year’s “Soul Train Awards” tomorrow at 8 pm Eastern. If you get the CENTRIC network, you can enjoy a “Soul Train” marathon starting at midnight tonight.

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