Donald Cortez Cornelius was a notable American television host and producer recognized as the mastermind behind the popular nationally syndicated dance and music program “Soul Train.” He held the hosting reins of the show from 1970 to 1993. In 2008, Cornelius made the decision to sell the show to MadVision Entertainment.
In Feburary 2012, at the age of 75, Don Cornelius took his own life by shooting himself in the head at his Los Angeles residence. This tragic event sent shockwaves through fans of “Soul Train” and the numerous musicians who graced the iconic 1970s music and dance TV program. In this article, we’ll delve into the details surrounding Don Cornelius’s tragic death and explore aspects of his personal life.
What Was The Actual Reason Behind Don Cornelius’ Death?
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has officially determined that the death of Don Cornelius, the visionary behind the iconic “Soul Train” television show, was indeed a suicide. Cornelius, aged 75, tragically ended his own life in 2012 succumbing to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The autopsy confirming these details was carried out later on.
The son of Don Cornelius, the creator of “Soul Train,” revealed in 2012 that his father had reached out to him shortly before his suicide. He mentioned that Don Cornelius was experiencing unhappiness and deteriorating health but tended to keep most of his emotions hidden. Subsequently, Cornelius released a statement expressing gratitude to the supporters of “Soul Train” for their backing and respectfully requesting privacy during this time. Keep reading for more.
Challenges Faced By Don Cornelius In His Life
Don Cornelius’ death, resulting from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, has brought to light some of the challenges he faced in his personal life. He struggled with health issues for several decades, including a complex brain operation in 1982 that left lasting effects. In 2009, he pleaded no contest to a count of “corporal injury resulting in traumatic condition of a spouse” and was placed on probation while also ordered to pay fines.
However, Cornelius’ most enduring legacy remains his profound impact on diversifying pop culture and providing a platform for black performers. He created and hosted “Soul Train,” which aired nationally from 1971 to 1993, becoming the first significant platform for soul music on American television. Cornelius played a pivotal role in introducing stars like James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson to a broader audience.
“Soul Train” gave rise to the Soul Train Music Awards and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, although the show itself concluded in 2006. Cornelius’ colleagues and artists he impacted, such as Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and Quincy Jones, have expressed their admiration for his contributions and his role in propelling African-American talent into the spotlight. Let’s know about his wife in the upcoming paragraph.
Don Cornelius’ Relationships With His Ex Wife, Viktoria Chapman-Cornelius
Don and Viktoria’s marriage was marred by difficulties. Viktoria became Don’s second wife after their 2001 wedding. However, their relationship took a turbulent turn, leading to their divorce in 2007. Viktoria had even filed two restraining orders against Don during this period, as per the reports. In 2009, the couple officially concluded their marriage through a legal divorce.
At the last stages of the divorce process that year, Don Cornelius openly expressed the emotional strain the relationship had imposed on him, along with his deteriorating health. He confided in a Los Angeles judge, stating that he was grappling with severe health problems and was eager to complete the divorce proceedings before his eventual passing. As per reports, sources indicated that he had experienced a stroke in the preceding years and had also undergone brain surgery.
Policies Left Behind After Don Cornelius’ Death By Him
Don Cornelius left behind two substantial life insurance policies, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These policies are set to be directed to his ex-wife, despite their acrimonious divorce three years ago. The creator of the iconic show “Soul Train” was tragically discovered dead, suspected of having taken his own life, at his residence in Sherman Oaks, California. Police found the 75-year-old at his mansion with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
It has come to light that Don Cornelius’s ex-wife, Viktoria Chapman-Cornelius, whom he reportedly had a strong aversion to was set to receive approximately $300,000 from his insurance policies. Don Cornelius and his second wife, a Russian model, concluded their divorce proceedings in 2009 amidst allegations of domestic abuse from both parties. During that period, he informed an LA judge that he was dealing with “significant health issues.” It is known that he had faced health challenges, including a stroke and brain surgery, which caused him considerable pain in the years leading up to his passing.