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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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Get ready white America. The law suits will start. God help us we didn't provide him with and education in Money when he won the award from LA. We allowed him to spend as he sees fit and didn't provide him access to detox programs.

827 days ago


RIP Rodney King:
Condolences go out to his family and friends. I saw him when he was on Celebrity Rehab and I was really rooting for him to make it. I guess he didn't.
Those cops DESERVED to go to jail. They didn't have to beat the man like that. Thank god for people who video tape this kind of thing because it might have stopped him from being killed by those cops. It wasn't right that he was on "PCP' when driving and fleeing from the police. But in no way was it justified what they did to him.
I can understand the frustration of the black community when they rioted. They saw an injustice being done. But they destroyed their own community. Same as the riots back in the late 60's. Beating a innocent truck driver is no way to get revenge either.

827 days ago


i'm so sad about was all in his hands didn't have to end this way...RIP Rodney...

827 days ago


I'm sorry to hear this. He had a tough time of it. That beating probably took years off his life. Rest in peace, Rodney.

827 days ago


This is sad but did the girlfriend have to go as far as telling about him smoking weed? things that make you go HMMMM.....

827 days ago


Now that I think about it...ol' Rodney didn't have it that bad. How many black people that aren't rappers have an in-ground swimming pool?

827 days ago

john wayne gacy    

how do you say rodney
kings name in spanish ?


827 days ago


so shocked so sad such a great spirit i wish i had known you on this earth u will truly be missed,u truly had the soul of a man.u were so much more than lets get along,u were the soul of a man whose heart cried out for a haven which was safe and sure u have found that place Rodney u are finally free,from all the storms of life your soul has been saved u have been granted your peace you are and you were THE SOUL OF A MAN RIP!!!!!

827 days ago


Lindsay, do you understand what irony means?

827 days ago

David Kaliner    

The do***ented video of police officers violently beating Rodney King years ago brought much needed attention to the horrible corruption and brutality that sadly exists more commonly among cops than a majority of the public is seemingly aware. The Los Angeles riots subsequently following this outrageous incident also sparked a good del of media attention and made headlines throughout the world. Mr. King famously spoke out shortly thereafter, urging us all to get along. His inspirational message should never be forgotten. People need to respect each other as individuals and genuinely appreciate our unique differences. Police brutality must be more thoroughly examined. Officers need to pass a higher level of stringent evaluations and testing required on a regular basis to comply with any civilized society's reasonable expectations. Such excessive violence is outrageously senseless and never acceptable. My sincerest condolences go out to the family of Rodney King. Rest in peace, Mr. King.

827 days ago


What a sad end. Unbelievable some of the comments on here...craziest of nutballs on this TMZ site. Big frickin deal if this man had an 'addiction' problem, a majority of the population have/has addiction problems. He never wanted to be this 'historical figure - role model'. He was beaten to near death by these cops. NO EXCUSE, period...and he deserved every penny, every cent he received for what those nasty cops did to him. HOW dare people condemn this dare you! His life was troubled and no one has any right to judge him. He was forced into this 'spot light'..!

So sad, feel very saddened by this story, RIP!

827 days ago


Fishy...? Just a bit....Why didn't she go into her own pool after him? Why was the door locked? Why was he screaming? Why did she wait and get her phone?
Watch Dave Chapelle's interview at the Actors Studio and Randy Quaid's press conference in Canada. But they are both nut's or liars, aren't they? Wake up people!

827 days ago

Marty O`Leary     

Come to L.A and get treated like a King!

827 days ago


Did not work. Unemployable. Addicted. Bad friends. History of abuse against women. FAILED time and again to find and maintain sobriety — I guess this man of self-determination never 'met his bottom'??! Really truly SAD. But I ain't shedding a tear.

827 days ago


I wonder what would happened if he died about two decades before? Oh I know. Maybe the miserable city of LA wouldn't have burned down. Too bad a piece of crap like him didn't die sooner. Ooooh, sorry I'm just speaking the truth unlike you clowns who back a criminal like him.

827 days ago
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