Photo Credit: John Shearer/WireImage;Paul Natkin/WireImage
On Wednesday morning, the entertainment community was rocked by the shocking news that Soul Train creator Don Cornelius was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, Calif. home. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police reports, and was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m. He was 75.
Cornelius was beloved for creating the Saturday morning TV show Soul Train, which debuted in 1970. Pitching it as the African American version of Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Cornelius introduced the world to some of the best R&B artists, including Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson. The show ran for 36 years until it was eventually shut down in 2006.
The news of Cornelius's death was first reported by TMZ, with an official police report later coming through People. Celebrities immediately took to Twitter to express their shock and sadness over Cornelius's apparent suicide and to share their condolences with his family.
Wyclef Jean was greeted with the news of Cornelius' death first thing in the morning, and took to Twitter to share his grief. "JUST WOKE UP TO SOME SAD NEWS," he tweeted. "R.I.P. Don Cornelius founder of SOUL TRAIN."
Many celebrity tweeters -- including Rev. Al Sharpton -- had known Cornelius for many years.
"I am shocked and grief stricken by the reported suicide of Don Cornelius of Soul Train," Sharpton tweeted. "I have known him since I was 19 years old.
But most celebrities just want Cornelius to rest in peace. "Rest in Peace, Love & Soul...Don Cornelius," tweeted Ice Cube.
Actress Gabrielle Union quoted Soul Train's token catch phrase when she wrote, "Love, Peace & Soul #RIP."
Singer-songrwriter Ginuwine, meanwhile, remembered Cornelius for the impact he had on music. "RIP Don Cornelius," he posted. "Someone who paved the way for black music I still remember my first time on soul train what an experience."
Community star Yvette Nicole Brown was also very moved by the news. "Just saw on the news that #SoulTrain creator and host, Don Cornelius, was found dead in his home this morning. The circumstances are tragic," she wrote.
But singer Mya summarized our thoughts best when she posted to Twitter following the announcement of Cornelius's death.
"Condolences to the family, friends+ associates of Don Cornelius," she tweeted. "So grateful4 his decades of innovative contribution to black music. R.I.P."