The Rialto police department says there was no evidence of foul play into the death of Rodney King, who was found dead Sunday in a swimming pool at the home he shared with his fiancee.
King, whose life was a roller coaster of drug and alcohol abuse, multiple arrests and unwanted celebrity, pleaded for calm during the 1992 riots. More than 55 people were killed and 600 buildings destroyed in the violence.
In a phrase that became part of American culture, he asked at a news conference, “Can we all get along?”
“People look at me like I should have been like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks,” he told The Los Angeles Times in April. “I should have seen life like that and stay out of trouble, and don’t do this and don’t do that. But it’s hard to live up to some people’s expectations.”
King published a memoir in April detailing his struggles, saying in several interviews that he had not been able to find steady work.
He still walked with a limp and several of his scars were visible. His best outlets for relaxation, he said, were fishing and swimming.
Neighbors reported hearing music, talking and crying before hearing a splash.
A pair of sandals was still sitting next to the pool, visible from a neighbor’s backyard. King had apparently started to build a new fence to keep neighbors from looking in, but never completed it. One neighbor said that King mowed her family’s lawn weekly and that she often saw him swimming late at night.
King was married twice. Survivors include his daughters, Lora and Candice King, and a third daughter whose name was not immediately available.
In an interview in April, King said he understood how posterity would view him.
“It’s taken years to get used to the situation I’m in in life and the weight it holds. One of the cops in the jail said: ‘You know what? People are going to know who you are when you’re dead and gone. A hundred years from now, people still going to be talking about you.’ It’s scary, but at the same time it’s a blessing.”