Just four months after celebrating his 75th birthday, reports came in this morning that Black icon and broadcasting legend Don Cornelius has died of a gunshot wound to the head in an apparent suicide.
We're told cops discovered the body at around 4 AM PT. Law enforcement sources tell us … Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.
We're told Cornelius was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead …
During Don's bitter divorce proceedings in 2009, he told an L.A. judge he was suffering from "significant health issues" and wanted to "finalize this divorce before I die" …
Sources close to Don tell us … the TV icon was plagued with health issues for years … including a stroke and a condition that required brain surgery.
There's not much to say about Chicago native Cornelius' storied career that we didn't say when we celebrated his birthday in September — his legendary rise from local fame to becoming one of the most recognized names in Black music. He created an opportunity for various acts to get the national spotlight of television cameras where there were few opportunities of that scale. He also became known as an icon for cool, someone whose composure and smoothness rivaled Barry White and would leave Barack Obama green with envy.
We may never know the circumstances that led to hot lead penetrating his innovative mind in the dark of the night, January 31st, 2012. What we do know is that he stood for many things we stand for — defying barriers, providing opportunity and making a way out of no way. In the words of our ancestors, we honor Don Cornelius life and legacy with the words of the ancient Egyptians — anedge hirak Don Cornelius.
In his own words, we say, "as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" Thank you, and rest well, sir.