Don Cornelius Dies: Stars Pay Tribute

Entertainment Feb. 1, 2012 AT 3:27PM
Don Cornelius Dies: Stars Pay Tribute Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Steve Grayson/WireImage.com; Paul Morigi/WireImage.com

Music industry legends have come out in full force to remember Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, who passed away Wednesday at age 75.

The creator of the iconic music TV series, which ran from 1971-2006, is believed to have taken his own life, succumbing from a gunshot would to the head.

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"It's just so sad, stunning and downright shocking and a huge and momentous loss to the African-American community and the world at large," Aretha Franklin told Us Weekly in a statement Wednesday. "Don Cornelius single handedly brought about a melding and unity of brother and sisterhood among young adults worldwide and globally with the unforgettable creation of Soul Train."

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Musician Questlove shared an emotional tribute to Cornelius on his Website, telling fans "Don Cornelius was my first non-musical, non-celeb, non-blood related hero. It's amazing timing that my arrival on Earth and his greatest creative manifestation came within nine months of each other. Both symbolizing a new hope for urban America," he wrote. "Most won't get it til now (especially now that he's gone) but I pray that Don knew of the appreciation he had in all of us born after 1968."

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Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba praised the late mogul for inspiring dancers worldwide through his program. "Where would many of us #dancers be without #SOULTRAIN....Sad Day today...RIP Don Cornelius," she wrote, via Twitter.

"Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was Soul Train, that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius," fellow media mogul Quincy Jones said in a statement. "His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don's family and loved ones."

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La Toya Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Holly Robinson Peete, Robin Roberts and Diddy were also among the stars who expressed grief over the passing of Cornelius.

Said Nick Cannon simply: "RIP Don Cornelius."

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