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Coroner rules Don Cornelius' death a suicide

February 7th, 2012 2:50 pm by Associated Press

Coroner rules Don Cornelius' death a suicide

Don Cornelius, creator of the long-running TV dance show "Soul Train," shot himself to death Wednesday morning at his home, police said. He was 75. DAMIAN DOVARGANES/AP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Coroner's officials on Tuesday ruled Don Cornelius' death a suicide, nearly a week after the "Soul Train" creator and host killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

The agency made the determination after conducting an autopsy on Cornelius' body Friday. Investigators are still awaiting the results of toxicology tests before issuing a final report.

Police quickly ruled out foul play after responding to Cornelius' Mulholland Drive home early Wednesday morning. His son had alerted authorities after receiving a call from his father.

Cornelius, 75, started "Soul Train" in 1970 and it became one of the longest-running syndicated shows in history, introducing audiences to many top music acts and providing a never-before-seen TV platform for black culture.

The popular host was honored Saturday in Harlem with a lively celebration in tribute to Cornelius and the wide-ranging influence of his show.

His son, Tony Cornelius, released a statement last week asking for privacy and thanking fans.

"We thank all the well-wishers and the fans who have supported the `Soul Train' legacy. Love, Peace and Soul," the statement read, incorporating his father's famous sign-off from the show.

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