01/02/2012 10:18 GMT | Updated 01/02/2012 10:23 GMT

Don Cornelius Dead: 'Soul Train' Creator Reportedly Committed Suicide

Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, was found dead at his home this morning.

Celebrity website TMZ have reported that the 75-year-old "appears to have committed suicide".

They wrote: "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."

The American television show presenter hosted the nationally-syndicated dance/music franchise Soul Train from 1971-1993, a show inspired by his realisation in the sixties that there was no television venue in the US for soul music.

In its heyday, the programme was essential viewing, and afforded many of the generation's greatest soul and R&B acts - including James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin - important national television exposure that fuelled all their careers.