Son of Don Cornelius speaks on father's death
February 2nd, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Son of Don Cornelius speaks on father's death

Following the loss of his father, "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius, on Wednesday, Tony Cornelius is speaking out.

“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.”

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Jeannien Herwoodp

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!

    July 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. earl

    Trailer park

    February 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SKY


    February 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff

    Aging is tough...we all have to be there for our elders so they don't feel alone or unsupported.

    As a white dude let me express my raw disgust for those who chose to express their ignorant mean-spirited racism here. Get some help.

    February 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. keith

    You are a nut ron for saying that foul stuff. You disrespected his family. What if that was your mother would you want someone to do that to you. No matter how he died he did something great for the world and just not something for the black communities. He is gone and let him rip. At least be a man and tell the family you are sorry for that comment. Remember we all got problems we deal with everyday but nobody is calling you names. Trust in god cause he believes in you!

    February 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dana

    How sad for someone who left their mark on the world and in the pages of history by setting a world record. He was much more than the creator of a dance show. These "young ins" don't know that he was a journalist who interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King, a philanthropist, a visionary, a producer, and a fighter for minority rights. His vision of the show didn't come without much hard work and its share of naysayers and haters. He gave us something to call our own. Even his "interviews" of guests on the show were not ordinary. He asked the real questions we wanted to know and made many, many friends of the guests on the show with his kind personality. He was as big with Soul Train as Dick Clark was with American Bandstand because so many Black artists would never have been seen if not for him. Any time a Black man has the nerve to show "if you won't give it to us, we'll still get it done and make our own", there will always be adversity esp. Coming on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement. I'm truly saddened that at his age he couldn't appreciate his life for all the people who did love him.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mary

    people need to learn how to respect people and there feelings. You know where you at today, you don't know where you will be tomorrow. Show some love people.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. carolyn

    as a child in the 70s my sister watched american band stand and i watched soul train. to me his lovely face with those kind eyes was only second to his great voice. memories that i will hold dear to my heart in were loved

    February 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lofaye

    God bless his entire fam/friends. may god allow peace to rest on all of u.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lofaye

    We need to learn to speak life & not death to every one. people should respect folks feelings & watch what u say....remember yo tongue iz a 2 edge sword

    February 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cotton bananas

    God Bless Dom DeLuise :'(

    February 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. monica

    You will be missed, I will always rock out to soul train r.i.p

    February 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Name* Andrew Wayne

    Black, white, yellow, or whatever. You had to love Don and "Soul Train". Yhe show made you feel good and forget about our differences.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. butterball

    don c started this getto additude most blacks have. he was part of the problem with the black community.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • TennMark

      Great........another typical white person who probably has NEVER stepped foot in a black neighborhood or goes out of their way to avoid interacting with black people but is always ready to tell us what is wrong with our community.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. annie

    Where does one begin? Soul Train was a great show. Don was a genius! I wonder how many of you understand depression. I recently lost a friend to suicide by poisoning. This man was ALWAYS talking about it due to severe back pain and doctors who would not help him. He finally had had enough so he bravely took his life. I believe through his suffering he is in a better place. Don't condemn a person's acts. Just remember the good times and the love. Rest in Peace. finally peace.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  16. laquecia

    Just gross. Nobody likes a n!;gg. They smell something fierce.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • TennMark

      black people can take showers......but you will ALWAYS be IGNORANT run ahead, they need you to take minutes at the klan meeting.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Name*alstonquan

    My love goes out to the family

    February 3, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  18. scoooby

    I saw him sing once in Nashville. He stunk the place up. Didnt use deodorant like j iggs never do.

    February 3, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  19. Don Cornholenelius

    Love, peace and BOOOOOOM!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  20. southernwhiteboy

    yall i never saw the show but this man was still a husband fatherf and a son show some respect for him and his family

    February 3, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  21. Darrell Russ

    I loved"Soul Train" and have fond memories of happy Saturday's watching the show. Don really did help change the world. I just recently watched videos of my personal favorite, Donna Summer, on the show. He did a fine interview with her and helped us get a glimpse indside the artist as well as the music! His work will live on!!! Rest in peace!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  22. warren

    Soul train the hippest trip in america! With today guests the stylistics and minnie ripperton. Soul train is brought to by afro sheen and afro sheen cosmetics.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  23. dave

    Yeah. Whites are bad too. Im Chineese. WE RUUUUULE !

    February 3, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  24. dave

    First time I ever saw a black person was on his show. It was one saturday morning and I was flipping around the channels and saw some gosh awful dirty looking things on the tv. Found out it was SO TRAIN and Parliment Funkadellic was the guest that week. From that minute on I knew blacks are just different from normal people. Over the years I learned that most blacks are in fact cannibals. They have big afro hair to hide their razors and switchblades in. Be careful if you ever have to be around one. They are dangerous.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • ?mylove

      White people are hate filled inbred, woman beaters and child rapist. So if you ever see one grab your kids and run.

      February 3, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  25. Belinda

    Did he look in the mirror and finally realize he is black?

    February 3, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  26. Richard Fore

    Awww, c'mon LOOSERS, this has-bean is worm food now! Everyone move on or line up to LICK MA BALLZ!! BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    February 3, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  27. A Rattler

    Thank you for your love and time that you gave to the many generations that grew up with the experience of viewing your show. We will never forget those days on Saturday mornings Don!

    February 3, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  28. Mike

    Don Cornelius was simply a pioneer and a trailblazer. His legendary show Soul Train reached millions of viewers and even breaking the color barrier in the process. His impact on television will never be forgotten. In Don's legendary words, We wish him love, peace, and soul. Don Cornelius R.I.P. You are one the of the true great iconic figures of our time.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  29. peleka

    Soul Train was a part of my childhood. That's where we know all the latest styles in fashion, the latest dance moves, the latest song and the latest star! Oh those were the good old days!!! God welcomes you will be missed! You're an innovator and a mentor.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  30. Yvonne

    I grew up watchin Soul Train every Saturday morm with my grandparents. My granddad luv to see the ladies dance. That gave him a thrill. Now my eleven yr old watches the reruns on Centric network, she luvs it and so do i. My condolences go out to the Cornelius family. REST IN PARADISE MR. DON CORNELIUS, LOVE, PEACE AND SOUL.

    February 3, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  31. hyacinth

    A true legend!!! God Bless the family through this transition. Love, Peace, and Soul RIP Don Cornelius

    February 3, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  32. shaun catron

    hard to feel sorry for him..he took his own life after all. Coward.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
    • jerome

      Bang, bang, bang.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • ?mylove

      You have no idea what he was dealing with, so just say Rest is peace and leave it at that. Stop being a judgemental ass!

      February 3, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Uh huh

      Coward? I submit that there are times it takes great strength to do such a thing. You know nothing but of your own life. And I doubt you even have much command of that.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Reggie

    It' a shame what happened to such a great man . But Don C. made his mark in the world , He did what some of us didn't have the guts to do. He stood up and sacrifice time, patience,money and dedication to the black community. THANK GOD FOR HIM !

    February 3, 2012 at 5:26 am | Report abuse |
  34. Deaundria

    Soul Train is one of my favorite shows I watched it every chance I got Mr.Don Cornelius was a good man my thoughts and prayers go out to his family Love Peace and Soul.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  35. music in the air


    February 3, 2012 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  36. Sunny Murchison

    God Bless You, Brother Don. R. I. P.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  37. Chris


    February 3, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  38. Frida

    Truly a loss. I hope this fine man is at peace. His legacy will live on for generations yet to come. May his family find solace in all the wondrous gifts he gave with his talent & genius.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  39. cassndra jackson

    Even when health starts failng we must hang on to our faith and not look to our on understanding... meaning not to take things into our own hands. suicide can be an ON GOING HEART BREAK... therfore family and friends and fans please seek God to help u thru this... I pray for all those concerned... may God continue to Bless each and everyone...even the non believer..

    February 3, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  40. Babygirl

    R.I.P Mr. Cornelius

    February 3, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  41. cassndra jackson

    But the real pain begins when u give into suicide nd there is no help and no way out... it takes more than a hug and some words ...when we have been blessed to accommplish our goals and dreams there is still and emptiness and it is God i promise U...believing there is a God is just not enough WE HAVE TO HAVE FAITH...FAITH THAT HE WILL DO WHAT HE SAID HE WILL DO IF WE JUST SEEK AND TRUST IN HIM WIYH ALL THING.... I am not judging most of what i've said is God's words not mine...we can only pray for our loved one's while the are here... my heart is very sad fo Mr. Cornelius... i just wished he'd had faith in God as much as he had in himself, aspirations, goals,and ppl...

    February 3, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  42. cassndra jackson

    Ppl do not comment on pure ignorance they're in need of attn...this is why God says love not the things of the world nor anything in it..when we put our love and trust in ppl there will always be a big let down...if we trust God in God as we do ppl we would not hav the spirit of suicide which comes from depression... depression is a very dark place and when u stay in that state too long this is the tragedy that surfaces... ppl stop thinking God's Word is corny he made us meaning who else would know us better....depression always had me feeling like i wish i never existed its also is a form of disrespect to God...but i believed in God enough to know better than to choose to take something i did not create... u see the devil knows he is bound for hell regardless... he knows we hav a chance not go there for eternity so he tries to get as many of us as he can anyway he can... God is light depression is darkness... the darkness where Satan waits and has u to believe the pain will stop if u just end it all...

    February 3, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Chosen 1

      Cassandra Jackson you said all that needs to be said. May God bless you for that. It doesn't matter who we are. God is the answer for all the problems today ,yesterday, and forever!!

      February 3, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  43. Sandie

    rip Don.
    valorie you need to proof read your spelling is awful.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  44. kat

    My prayer's go out to his family,he will be truly missed by all,R.i.P Don!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  45. TennMark

    Never a surprise to me how some idiots (ron ron the moron) have to take a sad story like this and use it to try and get a rise out of people.......GROW UP!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  46. Yesenia

    Don Cornelious was mantor i grow up with him as a child with my family as a little

    February 3, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  47. tired of idiots on this blog

    Ur an idiot dirtbag!!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Paul

    What a tragady. life dosen't have to end so tragic, a lisning ear, a sympathetic tongue, a hug, things we all have at our disposal are sometimes simple solutions to such tragedies, so take this motto and spread it around.....Give a hug -save a life .

    February 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Mfr

    Where were all his friends when he blew his brains out?

    February 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      His son said he was a very private person and kept things to himself. His very bitter divorce that was just finalized in 2010 (sound like she took him to the cleaners), challenged health and advanced age took its toll. He was sick for years. His son said he called him but didn't say much yet sounded distraught and desperate. How many people do you know of that call someone or talk about suicide? He couldn't say what he probably wanted to but reached out by calling and his son rushed over but it was too late. Son said only someone who knew him really well would've known. That's why he raced to him. Very sad.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  50. bjn72

    soul long don you have a soulful hole in you some where

    February 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  51. rena t.

    I do not respect what he did...but i do respect his legacy. My prayers go out to all who are affected by his loss. Depression is real. We need to be better advocates for life and support those who ate struggling to realize that suicide is never the answer.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  52. emmanuel france

    Please no one disrespect Mr Don Cornelius or his bad health or passing. He was a GIANT and a humanitarian. Don't ever judge let alone mock a person's ill health or any other kind of problems because karma will come back and bite you in the ass for what goes around truly does come around. Love Peace And Soul tn the great Don Cornelius and his family and friends.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  53. bunny johnson

    I loved soul train,he will be greatly missed

    February 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boy

      Wow! This has dfeniitely been a "Deja Vu" experience. I remember I was an American Bandstand dancer during this time of Soul Train. I remember my friends and I always admiring the Soul Train Dancers and Soul Train. My biggest dream was to be part of that Soul Train Experience. I wanted to have an Afro, I wanted to look just as Cool as the dancers on Soul Train and Dance just as "Bad" as the Soul Train Dancers. They were our Idols. I am glad to hear about James Brown eating Fried Chicken with the Soul Train gang. Something one would never experience with "White Performers." Anytime....Thanks for this interview. And Thank you Pat Davis for your last words of Wisdom to the rest of "US". I am Very Happy the you are doing so well in your Life. Keep Strong and Peace.Love,David Kos

      February 13, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  54. carol collins

    When i heard what happend to don it hit really hard like i have known him all my life, because he was apart of my saturday ceareal and cartoons i never missed it and still do watch it. you just never know what a person goes through now matter who they are or what they have i hope is soul finds the peace in death that he couldnt find in life R.I.P Don love peace and soul.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  55. "ThatGirl" Jennifer

    Don Cornelius... R.I.P... U have brought sooo much joy into every1s childhood every saturday morning for over 20 yrs . U will sincerely b missed...Love ,peace and soul will live on bcus of u

    February 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  56. maureen

    We loved you Don...Saturday mornings was a lot of fun..I would still be in my pajamas watching all the STARS come on the show and entertain were a genius..MAY GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL...FIND EVERLASTING PEACE!! Brother!!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  57. luis

    I remember as a kid when I seen Al Green etc come on Soul Train,it was then when I realized what music about.Till this day,I prefer that music over todays music bcus it had meaning!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  58. John

    Certainly a great loss, but why do the families of dead or divorcing celebrities insist on regurgitating the exact same message every time some sort of unfortunate thing happens? We KNOW you want us all to respect your privacy during this difficult time, so why say it. Especially when everyone knows it, but no one heeds it (not even us, the readers), so why bother even saying it? Why not just send another obvious-though-appropriate-and-succint message: "We're really sad about this. Thank you."

    February 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      They say it because they hope that people will remember there IS a grieving family. It is appropriate and obviously needs to be said. What a dumb comment.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Robert

    Soul train was apart of my Saturday morning cartoon time regiment. Along with the Jackson Five.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  60. sugamama

    May God comfort and keep his love ones.And God Bless Mr. Cornelius soul and may he R.I.P.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  61. dwayne

    Ron Ron you are a Moron Moron!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Valorie


    February 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  63. bobby wilkerson

    My prayers with the familoy of soul train an don corneliss and his family just remeber he is part of black history remeber the good days love peac3 and soul

    February 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Big Lou

    He was truly a man who understood that music brings happiness to ta soul and Soul Train was our ride to ta best acts he showed every week.Our prayers to all his family.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  65. vernisha

    RIP Mr. Don Cornilius we lost a great man my prayers go out to his family and friends.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Brett

    Al Green on Soul Train performing "Living for You". Great stuff. Peace, love and soul my brother.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Debbie

    Ronron, next time you think you have something to add to a blog, DON'T! You are not funny and your commentwas digusting. I'm sure when your time is up and you pass away, you'll have a lot of people attending your funeral because they'll want to makesure you're dead. Meanwhile maybe while growing into adulthood, learn compassion and empathy, you need it.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Sokman

    It's sad, but thankfully he was able to see his visions become reality, as opposed to leaving much earlier & never exposing the world to his dreams which did so much for the entertainment industry

    February 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Igor

      i am so dppsaiointed with Soul Train. How could you pay tribute to a Rapper and didnt pay tribute to Vesta Williams who not only sang several times on Soul Train, but she use to be a dancer. Why you you disrespect Vesta like that. I couldnt believe it. She did a lot for Soul Train when she was hot back in the day. Soul Train wasn't even a rap show it was R and B and Vesta was a R and B singer. I will never watch another Soul Train Award show. You act like Vesta was nobody and didnt even recognize her saying Rest in Peace. Soul Train is very inconsiderate and only bases it show off of whats going to get ratings.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  69. Teresa

    Don cornilius will be missed i watched american bandstand and sovl train as a teenager my condolences to family

    February 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Tee

    Mr.Cornelius will be missed. What a contribution he has made to our history! Thank You!! Your family will be in my prayers.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  71. captain charismatic commonsense

    I too enjoyed Mr. Cornelius' contributions to music and entertainment not only to the black community but the world at large. I can only hope his passing opens up the discussion of the taboo subject of elder suicide. My condolences to his family and friends.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Ronron

    His death leaves a big hole in the soul community. Also a big hole in his head.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      RUDE and hurtful!

      February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaun

      IRon Ron but I feel more sad and sorry for you than I feel for Mr. Don Cornelius. Idiot comment. This man is an icon to a realm of something that you would never understand.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alfred Haynes

      I loved Don and I loved Soul Train, too. But that was actually funny. I'm sure, if Don were alive, he'd get a chuckle out of that remark.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      Thts Just Rude Ron -.- How You Going To Come On Here And Say Something As Idiotic As Tht -.-

      February 3, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • greenacres

      and I hope he visits you each night for spewing such rude remarks... you'll certainly pay for that one, RON RON – There won't be any place to RUN... watch.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • willj

      u ignant as hell!

      February 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Eric


    February 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  74. eduardo del bosque

    me as a latino I enjoyed soul train and I am totally grateful for being able to see some of the greatest acts ever and listening to the greatest music ever thank you don cornelius and god bless you

    February 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |

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