Rodney King


Rodney King, whose brutal 1991 beating at the hands of police officers sparked the Los Angeles riots, is dead.

He was 47.

King's fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, reportedly found him dead at the bottom of their pool at their Rialto, Calif., home Sunday morning, E! News has confirmed.

Authorities' attempts to pull King out and resuscitate him via CPR were unsuccessful, and he was later pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. at a local hospital.

More than 20 years ago, King became known around the world after he was nearly beaten to death by police officers. 

On his way home driving one night, the then 25-year-old King was on parole for a robbery conviction. Knowing he had been drinking, he attempted to flee after noticing a police car following him…and that was when the trouble began.

Although the event was caught on tape and the men were seen beating King more than 50 times with wooden batons, three of the four officers were acquitted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force by a police officer.

The incident kicked off the infamous L.A. Riots, which left 50 dead and $1 billion in property damage—during which King famously made the plea, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can't we all just get along?"

King, who had permanent brain damage after the incident, was later awarded $3.8 million in a civil case.

When asked earlier this year about the traumatic event, King told CNN, "Yes, I've forgiven them, because I've been forgiven many times. My country's been good to me. This country is my house, it's the only home I know, so I have to be able to forgive—for the future, for the younger generation coming behind me, so they can understand it and if a situation like that happened again, they could deal with it a lot easier." 

While King lived the majority of his life out of the spotlight, he later appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab in 2008 and released a memoir called, The Riot Within, in April. 

There hasn't been an official ruling on King's cause of death, and there were no preliminary signs of foul play, but detectives are conducting a drowning investigation.

—Reporting by Marcus Mulick

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