The Los Angeles coroner’s office has confirmed that Don Cornelius, the former Soul Train host, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head last week. He was 75.
According to the Associated Press, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office made the suicide determination after conducting an autopsy on Cornelius’ body on Friday (February 3). He was found shot at his Mulholland Drive home last Wednesday (February 1) by his son. A final report will be issued pending the results of toxicology tests, which could take a couple of weeks.
Cornelius, a former radio disc jockey, created, wrote and produced Soul Train, a popular dance/music show which focused on urban music. Celebrities from James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Ludacris all appeared on the show.
Friends and fans bid farewell to Cornelius’ in Harlem on Saturday (February 4), as well as on Broadway, where a flash mob broke into a dance on Times Square in his honor.
Last week, son Tony Cornelius released a statement asking for fans to respect the family’s privacy. “We thank all the well-wishers and the fans who have supported the `Soul Train’ legacy. Love, Peace and Soul,” he said in the statement that included his dad’s legendary sign-off from the show. —Mariel Concepcion