Holly Robinson Peete and Russell Simmons are among the celebrities reacting to the passing of 1991 Los Angeles beating victim Rodney King on Twitter. Robinson Peete called it a “tragic ending” in her Twitter post Sunday while Simmons simply offered “RIP Rodney King.” There is word that King may have been drinking and smoking marijuana in the hours before his death Sunday morning. Sources tell TMZ.com the word comes from King’s fiancÃ©e, Cynthia Kelley, who sat on the jury of King’s 1994 lawsuit against the LAPD. The two began a romance after the trial ended. According to TMZ, Kelley told friends she awoke at around 5:00 am Sunday morning to the sounds of King screaming and banging on the glass in the backyard of the Rialto, California home they shared. She reportedly says she heard a big splash when she went to grab her phone then discovered King lying in the bottom of their swimming pool. Paramedics called to the scene were unable to revive him. Police are investigating.
King’s 1991 beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers was captured on video, sparking national outrage. It sparked riots in Los Angeles a year later when the four officers involved in the beating were acquitted at trial. The situation prompted King to step forward with a plea for peace with his now-famous quote, “can we call get along?” King, who was left with permanent brain damage after the beating, also suffered from alcohol addiction and appeared on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008 and its spin-off “Sober House” the next year. He just released his memoir, “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption” in April. Rodney King was 47 years old.