'Soul Train' creator's death was suicide - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

'Soul Train' creator's death was suicide

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Singer and songwriter Rainy Davis, left, stands with Don Cornelius, the original host of the televised dance party 'Soul Train.' (Source: Rainysongs/wikiCommons) Singer and songwriter Rainy Davis, left, stands with Don Cornelius, the original host of the televised dance party 'Soul Train.' (Source: Rainysongs/wikiCommons)
Don Cornelius received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 27, 1997. (Source: CNN) Don Cornelius received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 27, 1997. (Source: CNN)
The honorary Don Cornelius Highway in Chicago was named in his honor on Sept. 5, 2011. Cornelius was suffering from unknown health conditions before his death. (Source: CNN) The honorary Don Cornelius Highway in Chicago was named in his honor on Sept. 5, 2011. Cornelius was suffering from unknown health conditions before his death. (Source: CNN)

LOS ANGELES (RNN) - The death of Don Cornelius, the creator and host of the television show Soul Train, has been ruled a suicide, according to the Associated Press.

Tuesday's coroner's ruling comes a week after Cornelius, 75, was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, CA, home with a gunshot wound to the head.

Police discovered Cornelius at about 4 a.m. PT on Feb. 1 at his Mulholland Drive residence in Los Angeles. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m., according to the coroner's office.

While an autopsy of Cornelius' body was conducted two days later, toxicology tests must be received before a final report by the Los Angels County Coroner's Office can be made, AP reported.

Soul Train was instrumental in bringing musical acts in R&B, soul and other genres to a larger audience, including Aretha Franklin. The show ran in syndication from 1971 to 2006.

Cornelius was the host from the show's inception until 1993.

Born Sept. 27, 1936, in Chicago, Cornelius worked as an insurance salesman before heading to broadcasting school in 1966. He also worked as a DJ and was a sports anchor for A Black's View of the News on WCIU in 1968.

Inspired by American Bandstand, Cornelius used $400 of his own money to create the pilot for Soul Train.

He ended each episode with the phrase "and you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"

Cornelius told a judge during his 2009 divorce proceedings that he wanted to "finalize this divorce before I die." He was reportedly suffering from significant health issues.

In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cornelius said he was in discussions with several people about developing a movie based on the show.

Fans of Cornelius and Soul Train expressed their feelings about the news via Facebook.

"[I] always loved that show," Tim Molthan wrote on the KCTV5 News page. "He was planning a movie about the show a couple of years ago to tell the story of real events that happened on the show. Now those stories are lost forever. RIP Don." 

On the WSFA-TV Facebook wall, NcCole Means wrote that she "grew up on this show."

"You knew when you [had] Saturday house chores, because you would hear the sound of the train blasting thru your set," Means said. "He will be truly missed. Love Peace and Soullllllll."

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