Rodney King was found dead in a swimming pool in suburban California early Sunday. King — previously featured on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew — is best remembered as the victim of a brutal police beating, which sparked national outrage and the notorious race riots that rocked Los Angeles 20 years ago.
He was 47.
Yahoo! News writes:
“Police said King’s fiancÃ©e discovered him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their Rialto, Calif., home, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles. Police responded to a call at 5:25 a.m., pulled King out of the pool and attempted CPR, but could not revive him. King’s representative Suzanne Wickman confirmed to his death to KABC-TV. According to TMZ, King’s fiancÃ©e, Cynthia Kelley, told friends King spent the bulk of Saturday drinking and “smoked marijuana at some point,” before she went to went to bed at 2:00 a.m. The cause of death is unknown, but police are investigating it as a drowning. Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN there were no preliminary signs of foul play.”
In 1991, police officers (clubs in hand) chased an intoxicated King through the San Fernando Valley following a traffic stop. He was captured on videotape being beaten by four White cops. Their acquittal at a criminal trial sparked rioting that lasted for four days, leaving 55 dead and more than 2,000 injured.
King, a father of three, continued to struggled with addiction in recent years. But by 2010, he seemed to be cleaning up his act. He proposed to one of the jurors from his controversial civil trial. Cynthia Kelley â€” Juror No. 5- who awarded King a $3.8 million payout in a civil case against the City of Los Angeles.
“Our first date was the next day after the trial when Rodney’s lawyer and Rodney met me in a local pizzeria in Newport Beach,” Kelley — the lone African-American on the jury — recalled to RadarOnline last year.
King had been scheduled to compete in a celebrity boxing match against Jose Canseco in August.