According to the Times, law enforcement sources arrived at the home of Cornelius, shortly after 4 a.m. Sources told the Times that Cornelius died of a gunshot wound to the head, which appeared to be self-inflicted. There were no signs of foul play.
TMZ reports that Cornelius’ body was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“Soul Train,” which debuted in 1971, was the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history, the Times reports. Before its end in 2006, it brought the music and dance styles of African –American artists to the national audience.
Cornelius retired from the hosting gig in 1993.
When Cornelius divorced his wife Viktoria in 2009, he told a Los Angeles judge that he was suffering from “significant health issues” and wanted to “finalize this divorce before I die.”
The couple’s seven and a half year marriage ended bitterly after his former wife filed two restraining orders against Cornelius, and he was later convicted of spousal battery.
Known as a private man, he gave a rare interview to Time Out Chicago last year in which he spoke about being moved to create “Soul Train” to give “black talent … an opportunity to get national television exposure.”
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