Don Cornelius
Don Cornelius, the creator of long running show "Soul Train," was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, Calif home on Wednesday morning. Authorities believe that he committed suicide. Friends, fans and other celebrities expressed their grief through the social media platform. Reuters

Soul Train creator Don Cornelius has been found at his Sherman Oaks home after an apparent suicide. He was aged 75.

Reports said that police arrived at Cornelius's home after reports of a shooting. he was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

According to People magazine the coroner said Cornelius had died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The iconic TV star first hit screens in 1969 with his African-American version of Dick Clark's American Bandstand. He called it Soul Train.

The show, which was one of the first in the US to showcase African-Americans prominently, gave Cornelius the platform to introduce some of the top names in R&B, including Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson.

He founded the annual Soul Train Awards in 1987, which honoured Stevie Wonder the first year. Cornelius remained Soul Train host until 1993, and the show ceased production in 2006.

This years' Soul Train Awards, due to take place in November, will honour the work of record executive Antonio "LA" Reid as well as singers Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Chaka Khan and Charlie Wilson.