Rodney King — the man who became known at the center-piece of the infamous L.A. riots — was found dead at his home in Rialito, CA this morning. He was 47 years old.
King’s fiancee reportedly found him dead at the bottom of their pool. The cause of death is currently unknown.
According to TMZ sources, police responded to a call at about 8:25 AM EST, and they physically removed King from the pool and attempted CPR. He was pronounced dead at exactly 9:11 AM.
Law enforcement sources report that the the local police department will be opening a drowning investigation.
Rodney King became a household name in 1991 after a video recording of him being beaten to a bloody pulp by LAPD officers during a DUI traffic stop was aired on national television.
The next year, the officers involved in the incident were acquitted … and the announcement of the verdict sparked the infamous 1992 L.A. riots.
King’s beating, which followed a high-speed car chase, and its aftermath would go on to change the Los Angeles Police Department, the city of the L.A. and race issues in America forever.
UPDATE (from TMZ):
Rodney King’s fiancée is telling friends Rodney had been drinking all day Saturday … and had smoked weed in the hours leading up to his death … sources close to King tell TMZ.
According to our sources, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, is telling friends King was at the house all day drinking, and he smoked marijuana at some point, before she went to bed at 2:00 AM.
We’re told Kelley says she next saw King at around 5:00 AM when she was awoken by him screaming in the backyard. Our sources say Kelley found King naked, banging on the glass, and she called out to him, “What’s wrong, Rodney?”
Kelley is telling friends she then went to grab her phone when she heard a big splash. She then went to the backyard and discovered him in the bottom of the pool and called police.