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Don Cornelius poses at Millennium Park on September 5, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.

Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, was found dead at his home early Wednesday morning. According to reports, law enforcement officials arrived at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, around 4 a.m. and found him with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Born in Chicago, Cornelius developed Soul Train after recognizing the need for a television program dedicated to soul music. Premiering in October 1971, the show helped offer great exposure for black artists and Cornelius served as its host until 1993. It continued to run until 2006 and is the longest continuously running syndication program in television history.

It is undeniable that Don’s vision and desire to feature minorities in a positive light has influenced urban/pop culture today. From the famous Soul Train line to it’s weekly special musical guests, every black household couldn’t wait to watch their Saturday dose of the Soul Train.

Peep a few clips below of the smooth-talking television host throughout the years. You’ll also find the clips of Questlove & Kelly Rowland talking about Don Cornelius and the popular show. Also, the full 90-minute documentary of VH1′s Rock Doc’s Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America.

While Cornelius’s death investigation is underway, TMZ reports that he had suffered a stroke and had brain surgery in recent years. Stay tuned for updates as they become available. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans.

“And as always in parting, we wish you love, peace… and SOUL!”

Watch: Don Cornelius Doing Soul Train Line For 1st Time

( Photos: GETTY IMAGES )


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