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Don Cornelius’ Death Ruled a Suicide

Don Cornelius
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

It was hinted early that perhaps ‘Soul Train’ creator Don Cornelius committed suicide. It took some time for verification, but this week they officially ruled his death a suicide. The Los Angeles coroner’s office made the ruling after the autopsy.  He was discovered dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

Although police were quick to rule out foul play in Cornelius’ death, an official investigation still followed, including an autopsy and a toxicology test. Final results are still pending for the latter test, but officials have obviously seen enough to determine the cause of death.

Cornelius’ passing triggered a public outpouring of grief in the music community, as well as a fresh round of appreciation for the pioneering entrepreneur whose pioneering work on the show helped pave the way for countless R&B, soul, and hip-hop artists.

Although ‘Soul Train’ ended its 35-year run in 2006, it remains the longest, continuously running first-run syndicated program in television history — and it helped give birth to SOLAR Records, home to Babyface, Midnight Star, and other artists, as well as the Soul Train Music Awards, which have continued in the wake of the show’s cancellation.

“We thank all the well-wishers and the fans who have supported the ‘Soul Train’ legacy,” read a statement issued by Cornelius’ son Tony after his passing. “Love, Peace and Soul.”

Read: Pop Stars React to Don Cornelius Death

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