Don Cornelius, creator and host of the legendary "Soul Train" series was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, CA home on Wednesday morning in an apparent suicide.
"Soul Train," which Cornelius hosted until 1993, changed the landscape of television on its debut in 1971, and ran until 2006 with massive influence and success around the globe, helping to launch names as illustrious as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson.
Law enforcement sources confirm that the 75 year old Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.
Don's was reportedly suffering from "significant health issues" in the years leading up to his death, including a stroke, and a bitter divorce marred his later years – he was arrested in 2008 for beating his wife, pleading no contest to misdemeanor domestic violence.
Shawn Holley — Don's lawyer and good friend — tells TMZ, "This is devastating news. Don was a kind, funny and brilliant man. Even though his many health battles had left him frail, he remained vibrant, courtly and always sharp as a tack."
Roots drummer Questlove wrote a stream-of-consciousness tribute post about the importance of Cornelius and "Soul Train" on Okayplayer – it's most definitely worth taking the time to read.
Check out James Brown's performance on the show in 1973:
Don used to sign off every Soul Train with: “As always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”
Now it's our turn to return the sentiment.