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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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Tom Truthteller    

So it's really necessary to post the video of the actual police arrest as part of this story? Why don't you also post the beating and near homicide of Reginald Denning along with it since they are both equally significant to the events of that time. (and all of the many other victims of those riots who were the victims of hate crimes, but few were charged) I was attacked in Atlanta at that time for being Caucasion. Posting the video of the police after the high-speed chase that cut out the events leading up to the arrest serve no purpose than to re-inflame the same people who caused all the mayhem back then.

856 days ago


How about an honest description of what happened that night? Instead of "King became famous in 1991 when he was the victim of police brutality at the hands of the LAPD," how about "King became famous in 1991 when he had to be forcefully subdued after fleeing police in a high-speed chase at speeds in excess of 100 mph and then violently resisting arrest."

King is singularly responsible for the LA riots and all the death and mayhem they caused. If there's a hell, he's in it.

856 days ago


What a waste.

856 days ago


michael jackson, whitney houston, rodney king, john lennon, mlk, and on and on.
all people who had the power to create revolution against rogue and authoritarian gvts

856 days ago

Uncle Dave    

It must have been George Bush's fault

856 days ago



856 days ago


How sad to hear of his passing - He seemed to be getting his life together, only to die at such a young age - RIP Rodney King.

856 days ago

just me    

next stop on the racial bull**** trevon martin

856 days ago


He obviously had a drinking problem, this time he tried to drink the pool.

856 days ago


Its hard to watch those videos, but I've always felt Rodney King was a troubled man well before that beating. Please keep in mind, getting beat in the head the way he did, only made his ailments even worse. My heart goes out to his family and I truely hope he is at peace now.

856 days ago


BFD, Why don't you go here and offer condolences to true heroes.....

856 days ago

Deport them both    

Are they going to riot over this??? Any excuse to act like animals.

856 days ago


Condoleances to the family

856 days ago


Too bad TMZ doesn't post the actual video from when the car was pulled over and Rodney jumped out and attacked the female Highway Patrol officer and the ensuing struggle instead of the video of him lying on the ground--all after a high speed chase at 2 in the morning. The man was a thug and not worth the cost in lives and property in the riots following a righteous acquittal after the prosecutors over-reached in their prosecution of the officers in order to appease the CNN caused frenzy. CNN originally showed the entire video which showed all sides of the event, but then decided to show only the final moments where King was beaten in order to enrage the gullible public.

He's dead, but so are a lot of innocent people murdered by thugs in his name. He did enormous damage thanks to CNN and the rest of the media that refused to show the whole truth. He wasn't worthy of the attention then and he isn't now. If you're going to pity him now, take a monument to think about the real victims as well.

856 days ago


Well, he'll join the othet 50+ people who died during the riots, some innocent bystanders.

856 days ago
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