Rodney King, the victim of the vicious 1991 videotaped police beating which led to the Los Angeles Riots, has died Sunday at the age of 47.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and Capt. Randy DeAnda, King was found by his fiancee, Cynthia Kelley, at the bottom of the swimming pool at his Rialto, CA home. After law enforcement responded to a 911 call at 5:45 a.m. PST, King was removed from the pool and CPR was attempted. According to police reports, King was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. PST, a local hospital.

King’s notoriety came after being brutally beaten by police March 2, 1991. Later in his life, King’s alcohol and substance abuse and subsequent arrests would plague him, and he would appear on the second season of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” and the show’s spin-off, “Sober House.”

King also participated in a 2009 Celebrity Boxing Federation fight against former police officer Simon Aouad. He was also present during last year’s Celebrity Fight Night hosted by FilmOn.com and the site’s founder and CEO, Alki David.

“Rodney lived an interesting life,” said David. “He was a sweet and gentle-natured man who I liked very much. He brought important racial issues to the forefront and his one simple line–“Can’t we all just get along?”–symbolizes the most important issue in any society. I’m not sure how much people realize the important role he played in bringing down a lot of the racial divides in America.”

According to TMZ, King was reportedly “excited” for his upcoming August celebrity boxing match before he died; the press conference had been scheduled for June 29. He would have been fighting baseball star Jose Canseco.


(Photo credit: Associated Press/Matt Sayles)

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By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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