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Rev. Al Sharpton has spoken out about the untimely death of Rodney King. The 47-year-old, who was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool Sunday (June 17) became known for the vicious LAPD beating that triggered the L.A Riots 20 years ago, but was perhaps never able to shake the demons likely brought on by unconventional notoriety.

Sharpton noted King as a “symbol of civil rights ” who made the country “focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct.”  He went on to praise the father of three for his commitment to spreading peace. “Through all that he had gone through, with his beating and his personal demons, he was never one to not call for reconciliation and for people to overcome and forgive.”

King had a very public battle with drug and alcohol abuse, and received treatment on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab. Back in April he was interviewed by the Associated Press, and opened up about his battle with sobriety. “I still sip. I don’t get drunk,” he said.

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