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Rodney King's co-author: Book was a 'gateway to a better life'

Rodney King's autobiographical book 'The

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new book, 'The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption,' by Rodney King and Larry Spagnola. Spagnola said that King saw the book as literally opening a new chapter in his life.

Rodney King's co-author for his recent memoir "The Riot Within" took some time yesterday to talk with me about King and the process of writing a book with him — and to dispel a widely reported view that King had somehow received a small advance from his publisher and was struggling with his finances.

Larry Spagnola, who also co-authored a book with Guns N' Roses drummers Steven Adler, said that prior to King's death from an apparent drowning this weekend at age 47, the embattled figure of the 1992 L.A. riots was "proud that he had gotten to a new place in his life, with a fiancée [Cynthia Kelley] and a grandchild on the way."

Spagnola continued, "He was excited that the book was coming out. When I saw him at L.A. Times Festival of Books, he was smiling ear to ear."

In stories about King surrounding the publication of his memoir on the 20th anniversary of the riots, the media reported that his advance for "The Riot Within" was less than six figures. I posted Monday on why that figure might not have been completely accurate. King's publisher, HarperOne, reported to Publishers Marketplace, which tracks publishing deals, that the advance was between $100,000 and $249,000.

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What kind of shape were Rodney King's finances in?

Rodney King's autobiographical book 'The

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

'The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption,' by Rodney King is displayed at EsoWon bookstore in L.A. King reportedly received a six-figure advance for the book, but he said that he only saw five.

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating at the hands of cops in 1991 led to not-guilty criminal verdict for the officers involved and touched off riots in L.A. the following year, was found dead at the bottom of his pool over the weekend. Early indications are that no foul play was involved. The 47-year-old King just drowned.

According to KPCC's Frank Stoltze, press reports had King "getting his life together." But what kind of shape were his finances in? 

He received a $3.8-million civil settlement from the City of Los Angeles, but pretty much all of it has disappeared by the time his fiancée discovered him on Sunday. As the LATimes reported in April, King was: "...jobless and virtually broke. Gone is the settlement money he got after suing the city for violating his civil rights. All $3.8 million of it. Huge chunks went to the lawyers, he says, some to family members, some he simply wasted."

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