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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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Leslie Libertino    

Charlie Beck= Class act. What happened was deplorable and inexcusable. It's nice to see a fellow "bother" of the force is/was able to recognize this. My support to you, Mr. Beck..always

827 days ago


Just a low life drugie thug before and after being famous. Before beating:
July 27, 1987: According to a complaint filed by his wife, King beat her while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again. King was charged with battery and pleaded "no contest." He was placed on probation and ordered to obtain counseling. He never got the counseling.

November 3, 1989: King, brandishing a tire iron, ordered a convenience store clerk to empty the cash register. The clerk grabbed the tire iron, causing King to fall backwards and knock over a pie rack. King swung the rack at the clerk and fled the store with $200. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. In a plea agreement, King pleaded guilty to the robbery charge and the other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but was paroled on December 27, 1990.

827 days ago

Paul B    

Hope those cops now feel bad about the flogging they dished out to him. No human should have had to endure the kicking he got. RIP Rodney...

827 days ago


So sad. He seemed like such a good guy on Celeb Rehab, but very lost in this world....condolences to his family.

827 days ago

Lady Juliette    

Watched the video again and still hard to imagine that anyone could survive the brutal beating he took at the hands of those officers. The jury must have had blinders on to have come back with a not quilty decision. This was one of the worst cases of justice, not being served, since OJ Simpson was aquitted of murdering his wife. No one deserves to be beaten like Mr. King was by our law enforcement officers. They really skated on that one.

827 days ago

Christine O    

As for Rodney King, It does not matter whether drugs or alcohol were involved. White America will always owe the responsibility for the suffering of this kind-hearted man who simply wanted to live his life as we all do , yet for the color of his skin, suffered the lifelong horrors of racism that white America never has to imagine, much less live on a daily basis....may he rest in peace and shame on America.

827 days ago


black trash useless as tits on a boar hog he was

827 days ago


R.I.P. Rodney King, a life ended much to soon. Condolences to his family and friends, he seemed like a fine man.

827 days ago


RIP Rodney...

827 days ago


Um, too young to die?? What's up with these comments? More like, good riddance. A s*** bag races away from police, endangering innocent people on the highway, and he got a deserved ass beaten. But somehow he becomes a folk hero and a reason to riot, beat and KILL innocent people, and burn down 160...0 buildings. THEN he sues the police for 3.8 million and wins! REAL me incentive to evade cops. HOPEFULLY I get beaten on video. Another s*** bag bites the dust. No news here.

827 days ago


He was a great man sober. That's like most alcoholics and addicts there not bad people. But sick people.

827 days ago

Don Martin    

Can't we all just move along.....

827 days ago


A very sad story. God bless Rodney and his family. All we need is love.

827 days ago


Well David. Apparently no esse has come into your house and beat up your family. Guess you'd want the cops to put the esse in some padded cuffs. That punto got what he deserved.

827 days ago


RIP Rodney, hopefully your demons are gone and after life is peaceful. My condolences to your family and friends, stay strong.

827 days ago
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