Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius’ home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.The sources said there was no sign of foul play, but the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating.
In a 2010 interview with The Times, he said he was excited about a movie project he was developing about . “We’ve been in discussions with several people about getting a movie off the ground. It wouldn’t be the ‘Soul Train’ dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project,” he said. “It’s going to be about some of the things that really happened on the show.”
According to a Times article, Cornelius’ “Soul Train” became the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history, bringing African American music and style to the world for 35 years.
Don Cornelius was a radio news announcer by trade, Cornelius began moonlighting at WCIU-TV, and wanted to create an African American version of American Bandstand, Dick Clark’s influential music show, with live dancing five days a week. On August 17, 1970, the first episode of Soul Train premiered on the station, and by the next year, it was being syndicated in other markets. The show became one of the longest-running shows of its kind, airing from 1971 through 2006. Cornelius held down the hosting duties for most of that run, before stepping down in 1993.