Rodney King is dead; appeared on Celebrity Rehab, Sober House

Rodney King, who became famous after being beaten by LAPD officers and who later appeared on both VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sober House because of his addiction to alcohol, has died at age 47. He’s the third cast member from the show to die: Jeff Conaway died in 2011, and Mike Starr died a few months earlier.

TMZ reports that “King’s fiancée found him dead at the bottom of a pool” and police “physically removed King from the pool and attempted CPR” early this morning.

CNN has a detailed obituary. Earlier this year, on the 20th anniversary of the riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers who nearly beat him to death, King published a book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption, he wrote about his experiences with the show, among other things.

Before the second season of Celebrity Rehab aired, Dr. Drew called King “a leader among his peers” who he used “to help stabilize some of the problems” the other celebrities had, and King called the series “a real positive experience.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.