Aretha Franklin describes Conelius' passing as 'a huge and momentous loss', Patti LaBelle calls him 'simply a genius', and Quincy Jones remembers him as 'a visionary pioneer.'
Don Cornelius shocked the world with news of his tragic passing on Wednesday, February 1. The "Soul Train" creator was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, California home with "a self-inflicted gunshot wound". While he died of an apparent suicide, it has just been uncovered that he did not leave a suicide note behind.
The Associated Press reported that detectives have not found a suicide note at the house where Cornelius shot himself, and are talking to relatives about his mental state. Police Officer Sara Faden said authorities have ruled out foul play. TMZ additionally noted that Cornelius had plagued with health problems for years, and the pain reportedly had become unbearable.
As soon as news of Cornelius' death made the headlines, many music legends spoke out in remembrance of the 75-year-old. In her statement, Aretha Franklin called his death "sad, stunning and downright shocking". The Queen of Soul added that it was "a huge and momentous loss to the African-American community and the world at large."
Franklin went on to praise Cornelius, saying that he "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." Patti LaBelle, meanwhile, called Cornelius, "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," the legendary singer continued on in her statement. "He will truly be missed and my heart and prayers go out to his family."
Legendary record producer Quincy Jones also expressed his grief in a statement. "I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius," he said. "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."
Among other music stars mourning the loss of Cornelius was Stevie Wonder. He said, "It's a heartbreak to the music world, to the television world and it is a heartbreak to me personally. 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."