Family members of 75-year-old Sherman Oaks resident and Soul Train creator Don Cornelius found him dead in his home in the wee hours this morning, anonymous sources tell the Los Angeles Times.
Reports of his death say he suffered a gunshot wound to the head at 12685 Mulholland Drive. (LAPD investigators still haven't officially ruled the death a suicide or a homicide.)
If Cornelius did take his own life, he chose an awfully strange day to do it:
As Twitter mourners are quick to point out, today is the first day of Black History Month. And no man or woman has done more to cement black music into history than Cornelius, producer and smooth-talkin' host of the funk/R&B/hip-hop celebration that was Soul Train from 1971 to 2006.
Cornelius was the grooviest of them all:
Sadly, once the show was canceled, the Soul Train creator became entangled in highly publicized marital issues with estranged wife Victoria. He was arrested by the LAPD for alleged spousal abuse in October 2008, and she filed two restraining orders against him.
In July 2009, Cornelius wrote in his divorce papers: “I am 72 years old. I have significant health issues. I want to finalize this divorce before I die.”
About a year and a half ago, Venice paparazzo Tony Vera (of the notorious Mike Tyson lawsuit) captured the dark side of a legend:
Cornelius was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center around 4 a.m., and declared dead soon after. RIP.