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Don Cornelius was in an extreme amount of pain in the days before his death … and minutes before he shot himself, Don phoned his son and told him, “I don’t know how long I can take this” … this according to the autopsy report obtained by TMZ.

According to the report, the “Soul Train” legend had been experiencing seizures as a result of an aneurysm he suffered 15 years ago.

But Don’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse in the last 6 months of his life … and he became “very depressed about his failing health.”

Don called his son at 3:00 AM on February 1 … and warned his son, “I don’t know how long I can take this.” Don’s son told him he’d rush right over … and Don said he’d leave the back door open.

When Don’s son arrived to Cornelius’ Los Angeles home, he detected an odor of smoke and saw Don seated in a chair with a pistol in his right hand.

Don’s son called 911 … and paramedics treated the 75-year-old for a bullet wound to his right temple.

He was transported to a nearby hospital … where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Don’s son told cops he had no idea his father even owned a gun.

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