Legendary producer and founder of the popular Soul Train, Don Cornelius, was found dead early this morning at his Sherman Oaks, California home early this morning.
According to reports, Cornelius was found with a single gunshot wound to the head, in what appears to be a suicide.
He was 75 years old at the time of his death.
Cornelius health was in decline in recent years, and according to various sources, he suffered from dementia.
Don Cornelius helped revolutionize black music when he created televisions longest running dance show, “Soul Train.”
The show aired from 1971 – 1993, with Don Cornelius playing host during those years.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius,” said Quincy Jones in a statement. “Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV, there was Soul Train, that will be (his) great legacy. … 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.”
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 from New York. “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.”
Record executive Antonio L.A. Reid, singers Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Chaka Khan and Charlie Wilson will be honored on the two-hour music special scheduled to air November 29. Actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard will co-host the awards.