Coroner: Drugs, Alcohol Fueled Rodney King's Accidental Death

King died at age 47 after drowning in his backyard pool in Rialto on June 17.

By Jason Kandel and Craig Fiegener
|  Thursday, Aug 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:11 PM CDT
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Rodney King's June 17 drowning death was ruled accidental Thursday. The 25-page coroner report notes that his death at age 47 was fueled by alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. Craig Fiegener reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2012.

Craig Fiegener

Rodney King's June 17 drowning death was ruled accidental Thursday. The 25-page coroner report notes that his death at age 47 was fueled by alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. Craig Fiegener reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2012.

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Photos and Videos

Rodney King 911 Call: "He's at the Bottom of the Pool"

A 911 call reveals the moments after Rodney King's fiancée Cynthia Kelley found his body at the bottom of the pool at his Rialto home early Sunday morning. Rialto police tried to resuscitate King, but were unsuccessful. King was pronounced dead at a hospital about 45 minutes after the call was made. Robert Kovacik reports from the NBC4 newsroom for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 19, 2012.

Rodney King Laid to Rest in Hollywood Hills

Rodney King is remembered as a great father, a great friend, and a symbol of forgiveness. Two weeks after his death, King was laid to rest Saturday, following an emotional memorial service at the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 30, 2012.
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Rodney King's death was ruled accidental in an autopsy report released Thursday by the San Bernardino County Coroner's Office, which also noted he had marijuana, cocaine and alcohol in his system.

The autopsy report summarized the events leading to his June 17 death at age 47 in his backyard pool in Rialto.

King "was in a state of drug and alcohol induced delirium," according to the coroner's report.

He "either fell or jumped into the swimming pool," the report said. "The effects of the drugs and alcohol, combined with the subject's heart condition, thus incapacitated, was unable to save himself and drowned."

LA Riots 20 Years Later

A spokeswoman for the King family released this statement Thursday:

"At this time I would like to ask the media and general public to respect the King family and allow them the privacy to grieve. The results have come as a great shock to everyone who truly knew Rodney. As you can imagine to his family as well. It truly breaks my heart to hear the results."

King's fiancée Cynthia Kelley found him in the deep end of the pool at 5:25 a.m. and called 911. She made several attempts to pull him out of the pool but was unable to save him. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where he died.

Rialto police said the preliminary investigation suggested the drowning was accidental and that there were no signs of trauma or foul play.

Kelley told police that King he had been out all weekend with a male friend, but police said at the time they did not know if King and his friend had been partying all night.

During a press conference announcing the death, police technicians could be seen bringing out a marijuana plant from inside King's home.

King was an admitted drug addict and alcoholic and told NBC4 in April he had been managing his addictions.

King was remembered during services led by the Rev. Al Sharpton as a "symbol of forgiveness" who bore the scars of his infamous videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers with dignity.

Sharpton said that King never showed bitterness to the officers who beat him.

King became famous after his videotaped Lake View Terrace beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was broadcast worldwide, as were photos of his bloodied and bruised face.

Those images became a national symbol of police brutality.

When four officers charged with felony assault on King were acquitted by a jury with no black members, the verdict sparked a riot that lasted for six days and brought U.S. military presence to patrol LA streets.

During the unrest, which left more than 50 people dead and caused more than $1 billion in property damage, King famously pleaded for peace by asking, "Can we all get along?"

King's words were embroidered on the lid of his casket, next to a portrait of him.

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