February 2nd, 2012
06:03 PM ET
“The family is saddened as we mourn the loss of Don Cornelius," he says in a statement to CNN. "At this time, we respectfully ask that you allow our family and friends the privacy necessary to get through this difficult time."
On Wednesday, Cornelius, an entertainment legend who broke new ground with his long-running program, died of a gunshot wound.
It's a loss that reverberated throughout the entertainment industry, with icons such as Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones, among many others, honoring Cornelius' memory with statements noting his immense contributions.
"It's a heartbreak to the music world, to the television world and it is a heartbreak to me personally," Wonder said in a statement. "That's why we have to always reach out to friends and put our best love forward. God bless his family and God bless his soul."
Added Patti LaBelle, "Don Cornelius was simply a genius and the contributions he made to music and our culture are second to none. I will always treasure the fond memories I have of working with Don over the years and being part of the history that he created through 'Soul Train.' He will truly be missed and my heart and prayers go out to his family."
Dionne Warwick, who is overseas, recalled creating the "Soul Train Awards" ceremony with Cornelius in her home.
"Needless to say, our vision was to not only give the recognition of all [who] continually were overlooked by other award shows, but to also let the nation know the importance of African Americans within the music industry," Warwick said. "My deepest condolence goes out to his family and to the multitude of his friends in this time of sorrow and grief. The world has lost an icon of the broadcasting world, and I personally have lost a dear friend.”
Tony Cornelius, seemingly keeping those words in mind, says in his statement, "We thank all the well-wishers and the fans who have supported the Soul Train legacy. Love, Peace and Soul.”
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