Rodney King, whose beating by police led to massive rioting in Los Angeles in 1992, was found dead at the bottom of a pool on Sunday.
King, 47, was discovered by his fiancé, according to TMZ. CNN later confirmed the report.
King became an icon of police brutality 20 years ago after he was brutally beaten by a group of LAPD officers after a freeway chase through the San Fernando Valley.
Amateur video of the incident caught the officers raining more than 50 baton blows on King’s crumpled, unarmed body.
Four LAPD officers were acquitted of assault on April 29, 1992, sparking a riot that killed 54 people, led to widespread looting and arson and caused more than $1 billion in damage.
King eventually won $3.8 million from the city, but spent it all on houses, a construction business and a record label, he told the Daily News in April.
In 2010, he became engaged to Cynthia Kelley, who sat on the jury of his civil case against the city.
King made headlines again this spring as a commentator on the Trayvon Martin case and released a book in April, "The Riot Within: My Journey From Redemption To Rebellion."