LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don Cornelius was cremated at a private service attended by family and family who were led in prayer by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the “Soul Train” founder’s family announced Friday.

Jackson led the gathering in prayer during the service, which was held at the same cemetery where Michael Jackson and other celebrities are interred.

“The Rev. Jackson and my father were very, very close friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Cornelius’ son Tony wrote in a statement.

Cornelius’ family is also planning a larger private memorial for next week, during which he will be eulogized by Jesse Jackson.

The popular host killed himself Feb. 1 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had in recent years faced health problems and divorced his wife after a fight with her led him to plead no contest to spousal battery.

Since his death, Cornelius has been honored around the country by fans and celebrities alike. “Soul Train” showcased legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Barry White. It brought the best R&B, soul and hip-hop acts to TV and had teenagers dance to their music.

Cornelius was honored Saturday with public celebrations in Harlem and Chicago, where he founded “Soul Train” in 1970. The show became one of the longest-running syndicated shows in history, introducing audiences to many top music acts and providing a never-before-seen TV platform for black culture.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at twitter.com/mccartneyAP.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Anthony McCartney

AP Entertainment Writer