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Rodney King

Dead at 47

6/17/2012 10:43 AM PDT UPDATED: 6/17/2012 4:56 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Rodney King found dead.UPDATE 9:27 AM PT -- According to our sources, King's fiancée is telling friends King had been drinking and smoked weed in the hours before his death.

Rodney King -- the man who was at the center of the infamous Los Angeles riots -- was found dead this morning in Rialito, CA. He was 47.

According to our sources, King's fiancée found him dead at the bottom of the pool (see photo of the pool below, taken today).

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they responded to a call at 5:25 AM PT. We're told they physically removed King from the pool and attempted CPR.

Our sources say he was pronounced dead at 6:11 AM.

Law enforcement sources say Rialto PD will open a drowning investigation, but so far there are no signs of foul play.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck released a statement today saying, "Rodney King has a unique spot in both the history of Los Angeles and the LAPD. What happened on that cool March night over two decades ago forever changed me and the organization I love. His legacy should not be the struggles and troubles of his personal life but the immensely positive change his existence wrought on this City and its Police Department."

King became famous in 1991 when he was the victim of police brutality at the hands of the LAPD. The officers involved in the incident were acquitted the following year and the announcement of the verdict led to the Los Angeles riots. 

TMZ spoke with King about two months ago, where he seemed upbeat and introspective. 




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The wages of sin are death. We all face the consequences of our actions, including the ***ulative effects of hard drug and alcohol abuse.

I think we should all have the Free Will to make these decisions for ourselves. Rodney King played it to the hilt, but couldn't break the laws of existence.

861 days ago


If Obama has a son

861 days ago


Who the hell was Rodney King anyway ? Sorry for his family he died, but oh well. You are treating him like he is one of the "Reverends"

861 days ago


What else did you expect from this poor man. He didn't know it, but he was lost to a real life the day he was born. I know his parents failed him. Just think what a positive contribution he could have given this world if he had had the right guidaance in his youth. Mr. King was a good hearted man, but a doomed man nevertheless.

861 days ago


If he wore a hoodie, he'd be Obamas bro fo sho

861 days ago


Al Sharpton is in mourning today since one of his money mules left the building.

861 days ago

Jimmy bob    

Why aren't you showing the full video. If people saw king lung at the cops they would have a better understanding. You in the media have blood on your hands because you never showed or even talked about the full footage

861 days ago


The one thing Rodney King surprisingly did not do in his life was become a reverend.

861 days ago


So? Who cares? Not me.

861 days ago


Help me figure this out... the man was said to have been frightened and banging on the door for help, the next thing you know he's in the bottom of the pool, and the police, having performed no investigation, has already decided that there was foul play. Huuuummmmmm

861 days ago



861 days ago

Snow White    

The so called Rodney King riots were organized by Anthony Thigpen, a known community activist who had received training at the Patrice Lumumba School (Of terrorism) in Moscow during the Cold War.In November, prior to the riots, Thigpen, financed by a $250,000 grant from Ted Turner financed New world Foundation, While Hillary Clinton sat on it's board of directors and served as NWF's President, was sent down into East Los Agneles for the stated piurpose of "Uniting those warring gangs and focusing their attention on their common Enemies, instead of each other." Gang members interviewed on TV were quoting Thigpen, word for word , during and immediately after the riots. After Thigpen had unitd the waring gangs, he was supposed to train local grass roots activists, recruited and flown to Los Angeles with New World foundatuon money, on was to organize local "actions" to back up the LA peoples of color when they took to the streets. Unfortunately, the LA gangs jumped th egun and rioted before Thigpen could get the back up troops organized, The rodney King riots did not just happen. they were organized and Hillary Clinton was in on the planning and financing. How do I know all this. I was on the board of directors of the organization that used to "wash" the money. This project was presented to my organization as an "Environmental justice Project." It came already planned and with Thigpen as the designated leader. When I realized that thes wis a questionable project, I wrote Pete Wilson, who was then Governor of california. unfortunately he sent my letter to the Calif. EPA instead of the police chief of Los Angeles. However, I believe the over 1000 personal letters that I wrote to local people in the environmental movement that I had met and warned them about the project. As a result, I understand only 14 local grass roots activists showed up for the backup training. I'm just sorry California officials didn't take my warnings seriously.

861 days ago


That really is a sad story. I watched him on that rehab show with Dr. Drew, and this man bared his soul on tv, and made huge strides in his recovery at that time. Some people just have tragedy follow them where ever they go. I hope you find your peace and become an guardian angel for those he left behind.

861 days ago

dr of many things    

So long Rodney, may you rest in peace. Even so, the man was a serial woman beater, including once when he beat his wife in her sleep BEFORE the famous beating. He was once apprehended while having sex with a transexual prostitute, but no charges were file. He stuck a police officer and his girlfriend with his car in two separate incidents.
He had three or four DUIs, but kept driving without a license. He is not a man to lionize, even if he didn't fully deserve getting his butt kicked by po po.

861 days ago


Good riddance. Couldn't have happened to a bigger POS.

861 days ago
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