"Soul Train," which became the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in TV history, spawned offshoots such as the Soul Train Music Awards, the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards and the Soul Train Comedy Awards.
Cornelius, who also co-founded Soul Train Records in 1975, signed off each "Soul Train" show with his signature, "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"
In 1993, after more than two decades of changing musical styles and fashions, he stepped down as host. The show ended production in 2006.
Cornelius was born in Chicago on Sept. 27, 1936, and grew up on the South Side. After graduating from DuSable High School in 1954, he served a stint in the Marines. He sold tires, cars and insurance before taking a course in broadcasting in 1966.