RODNEY King, whose infamous beating by police sparked the 1992 LA riots and changed the US race debate, has died at his home.
A post mortem is scheduled in the next 48 hours after King's fiancee found the 47-year-old dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at his California home. There were no signs of foul play.
King had become a reality TV star in recent years, after a number of arrests for alcohol-related crimes.
Police said that he had had spent the morning by the pool talking to his fiancee who was inside the house.
But she later emerged and found him in the water at their home in Rialto, California.
Officers arrived to find King unresponsive and he was taken to Arrowhead Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators will await post mortem results to determine whether drugs or alcohol were involved, but Captain Randy De Anda said there was neither alcohol nor paraphernalia found near the pool.
In an incident that later became notorious Mr King was stopped by police for speeding on a darkened LA street on March 3, 1991.
A commotion developed and a resident quietly stepped outside his home to film the unfolding drama. Four Los Angeles police officers hit Mr King more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns. The city erupted into riots when the officers were acquitted in 1992.