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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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Wherever his soul winds up I'm sure it will get a good beating too.

856 days ago


Every time I read the news which is all day long, it makes me sick....what a horrible life this man had to suffer after that trible beating in racist LA. RIP brother.

856 days ago


A portion of this footage was aired by news agencies around the world. November 1989, King robbed a store.
He threatened to hit the Korean store owner with an iron bar he was carrying, then hit him with a pole. King stole US$200 in the robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment. March 2, 1991, officers then pursued King at high speeds on the freeway at 90 mph. He refused to pull the car over because he thought a driving under the influence test would violate his parole for a previous robbery conviction. Tthe chase continued through residential streets at speeds allegedly ranging from 55 to 80 mph for 8 miles. Once stopped, King refused to get out of car, patted the ground, waved to the police helicopter, and grabbed his buttocks. King physically resisted. King rose up, tossing 2 cops off his back, then struck another cops in the chest. King was tased, 56 baton blows and six kicks. Hospital tests showed King was drunk and had traces of pot in his system. He was awarded $3.8 million. April 29, 1992, the jury acquitted three of the officers. The acquittal triggered the Los Angeles riots of 1992. These were the Watts Riots. The casualties included 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damages to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses.

King went through rehab twice, and continued drinking until his death. He was in numerous drunk driving accidents after his beating. Booze and pot took him down today. He was 26 during the beating and 24 during his first robbery.

856 days ago


Poor honey. I hope he rests in peace. He seemed like a tortured soul. What a shame. Very sad life.

856 days ago


Larry King counts his blessings again and again.

856 days ago


The real sad thing here is this crackhead s***bag got a lot of innocent white people hurt for no good reason. He went out like the sorry worthless crackhead he was.

856 days ago


Another one bites the dust. He contributed nothing in life. Only took and caused strife and sorrow. I'm glad the LAPD officers who arrested him are alive and well. Props to them for keeping us all safe from losers like this piece of work. Don't do drugs!

856 days ago


I'm sure that little wanna be street thug Trayvon Martin will also be revered by the bleeding hearts and the liberal press, no matter what the result of the trial of George Zimmerman. Another insult to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.

856 days ago


Heavy drinking, Pot, prescription drug abuse.........Not a good idea.

856 days ago


Has anyone noticed tha propensity for controversial figures to end up dead? And, have you possibly noticed that those deaths are always suicide or accidental? Andrew Breitbart, Rodney king are just two this year so far. The Hollywood producer Arron Russo who made the controversial film Freedom to Fascism soon died thereafter. And many more have as well. WHY?

856 days ago


A wasted, useless life.

856 days ago


This is why you should not do drugs! If I was one of those cops back then, I would of taken a whack at him myself. Anyone could be a "nice guy" at times. But some of us just need a beating to bring us back to our senses. But instead, this druggie was made into a celebrity. How sad. If only his life could of taken a normal course. he took his beating, cleaned up, and he could of been around today to help others. Nope, instead he dopes himself into the bottom of a pool. Very sad.

856 days ago


My condolences to the King family. RIP Rodney

856 days ago


We should all drink and drive today in his honor.

856 days ago


Rodney could drink, yes. Rodney could smoke some weed, yes. Sadly, when Rodney drank and smoked weed, together, he'd forget he couldn't swim.

856 days ago
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