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Don Cornelius death investigation is nearly concluded

February 2, 2012 |  6:03 pm

"Soul Train"

The Los Angeles Police Department is close to wrapping up its investigation into the death of "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius, who was found dead Wednesday with a gunshot wound to the dead.

Law enforcement sources said detectives have interviewed several people close to Cornelius and say that all evidence suggests he took his own life.

They have been looking into health problems Cornelius had been experiencing.

Cornelius had undergone brain surgery in the 1980s and was quoted in newspapers at the time as saying he didn't feel quite the same afterward. His second marriage, to Russian model Viktoria Chapman, ended in divorce after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery in 2009. He had alluded to health problems in divorce papers.

Though law enforcement sources believe Cornelius killed himself, they said it would take days to fully investigate, including interviewing friends and family and examining evidence in his home.

PHOTOS: Don Cornelius | 1936 - 2012

A relative of Cornelius found him at his Mulholland Drive home Wednesday. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to law enforcement sources.

According to The Times' Hollywood Walk of Fame database, Cornelius’ “Soul Train” became the longest-running, first-run nationally syndicated show in television history, bringing African American music and style to the world for 35 years.

The LAPD will formally end its probe when the coroner's office establishes a cause of death. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing, said that may occur in the next few days.


Don Cornelius shooting death: Probe could be lengthy

'Soul Train' creator Don Cornelius dead in apparent suicide 

Remembering Don Cornelius: 'Soul Train' creator defined an era

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Don Cornelius' "Soul Train" was the first TV show to cater to the musical tastes of black teens. Above, Cornelius onstage during a 1994 taping. Credit: Chris Haston / Associated Press