Don Cornelius Death: ‘Soul Train’ Creator Passed Away

Donald Cortez Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012) was a prominent American television show host and producer, best recognized as the mastermind behind the widely broadcasted dance and music program, Soul Train. He served as the host of the show from 1970 to 1993, ultimately selling it to MadVision Entertainment in 2008.

In a significant recognition of his contributions, Cornelius was posthumously honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on May 3, 2023. The 2022 A&E documentary miniseries “Secrets of Playboy” featured allegations of sexual assault against Cornelius, with accusations involving two Playboy bunnies during the 1970s.

In this article, we will pivot our focus from the previous information about Don Cornelius facing domestic violence charges in October 2008 to a closer examination of the circumstances surrounding his passing, shedding light on the events surrounding his death.

About Don Cornelius Death

At approximately 4 a.m. PST on February 1, 2012, authorities were summoned to the residence of Cornelius in Los Angeles in response to reports of a shooting incident. Cornelius was discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was subsequently transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where medical professionals pronounced him deceased at the age of 75.

Don Cornelius Death: 'Soul Train' Creator Passed Away

An autopsy conducted later revealed that during the last 15 years of his life, Cornelius had been grappling with seizures, which were a complication stemming from a 21-hour brain surgery he had undergone in 1982 to address a congenital deformity in his cerebral arteries. Cornelius openly acknowledged that he never fully recovered from the effects of that surgery, which influenced his decision to retire from hosting Soul Train in 1993.

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In the final half-year of his life, Cornelius experienced a significant and rapid deterioration in his health. Shemar Moore, a former Soul Train host, suggested the possibility that he might have also been in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease at that juncture. On the evening of his tragic act, Cornelius conveyed to his son during a phone conversation, “I’m unsure how much longer I can endure this.”

Cornelius Faced Domestic Violence Charges

In October 2008, Don Cornelius, the iconic ‘Soul Train’ creator, found himself in a legal predicament when he was arrested at his Los Angeles residence on Mulholland Drive. He was apprehended on a felony domestic violence charge, leading to his release on bail.

Don Cornelius Death: 'Soul Train' Creator Passed Away

Subsequently, in November 2008, Cornelius had to appear in court, where he faced charges of spousal abuse and dissuading a witness from filing a police report. These legal issues continued into December 2008 when Cornelius returned to court and entered a plea of not guilty regarding the spousal abuse charges.

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Additionally, he was prohibited from approaching his estranged wife, Russian model Victoria Avila-Cornelius (known as Viktoria Chapman), who had obtained two restraining orders against him. Ultimately, in March 2009, Cornelius changed his plea to no contest, resulting in a sentence of 36 months of probation.

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