- REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The sudden suicide of Don Cornelius has revealed the troubles that plagued the iconic "Soul Train" creator during the latter years of his life.
Don Cornelius, 75, suffered from health problems and a breakdown in his marriage just years before he took his own life.
His health problems began back in the 80s when he started having headaches. It was discovered that he had a congenital malformation in the blood vessels on his brain.
In 1982, Cornelius underwent a 21-hour operation to correct the congenital malformation. After the procedure, Cornelius told The Washington Post that he was never the same after the surgery.
"You're never quite the same afterward. Travel is always a real test," Cornelius said. Speaking on the lengthy brain operation, he said that when you choose brain surgeons, you have to choose them for their stamina.
According to ABC News, Cornelius was arrested for felony domestic violence against his wife, Victoria Avila-Cornelius in 2008. He pled no contest to one count of corporal injury resulting in traumatic condition of a spouse.
That led to a probation period for Cornelius of 36 months. He was also ordered to pay over $1,000 in fines, in addition to multiple restraining orders being filed against him by his wife. They were divorced in 2009, after eight years of marriage.
"Soul Train" also led to the creation of the Soul Train Music Awards and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.
Many of Cornelius' colleagues remembered him for his contributions to black history and black musicians. Smokey Robinson said that Cornelius brought exposure to black talent and a positive image to young black teenagers, according to Yahoo News.
Quincy Jones called Cornelius his friend, colleague, and business partner, adding that he 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," Jones said. "His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched."
Despite his personal problems, Cornelius masked his troubles with a soulful persona he created as the host of "Soul Train." He will be remembered with the line he used to close every episode of the syndicated show, "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"