How did George Holliday die? Plumber who shot famous Rodney King footage dies at 61

Holliday was unvaccinated and contracted the coronavirus sometime in August. He ended up getting admitted to a local Los Angeles hospital


                            How did George Holliday die? Plumber who shot famous Rodney King footage dies at 61
George Holliday, who shot the famous footage of Rodney King being attacked by Los Angeles police officers (Twitter)
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In 1991, plumber George Holliday became a nationwide phenomenon after shooting a grainy nine-minute film of police officers beating up Rodney King. Holliday's footage made it to the front pages of newspapers, primetime TV, and most importantly the trial of the four officers. We can report that on September 19, Holliday died while at a hospital in Los Angeles, at the age of 61. His death was confirmed by a friend, in a statement to TMZ.

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The guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin in April 2021 came almost 29 years after the four officers Holliday captured were acquitted, a verdict that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Incidentally, the riots in Minneapolis following the death of Floyd in 2020 were widely compared to the LA riots of 92, the last time the US Army was called into action on home soil. Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the footage of Floyd's arrest and subsequent death was also compared to Holliday by some.

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In the era before TikTok and Instagram, Holliday proved the value of recording police brutality. While the four officers were never indicted, the footage did help bring King's case to the public's attention, leading to him winning a $4m settlement with the city. In fact, nearly three decades after shooting the brutality, Holliday reportedly put up the Sony camcorder he used. It's unclear if it was ever sold but has now become even more significant following his passing.

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Rodney King arrives at the EsoWon books store to sign copies of his new book on April 30, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

How did George Holliday die?

Speaking to TMZ, a friend of Holliday's confirmed the plumber died from complications due to Covid-19. Reportedly, Holliday was unvaccinated and contracted the virus sometime in August. He ended up getting admitted to a local Los Angeles hospital, where his condition drastically worsened according to longtime friend Robert Wollenweber. At the start, he needed an oxygen tube, but his condition deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator someone last week. 

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Towards the last few days, Holliday suffered from severe blood clots and internal bleeding, eventually succumbing to the virus on Sunday, September 19. TMZ was able to confirm Holliday had Covid through his voicemail, which said he was "in the hospital with Covid." It's unclear if Holliday was an anti-vaxxer, he kept a relatively low profile in recent years. In a rare interview with the New York Times in July 2020, Holliday confirmed he had never profited from the footage of King, but changed his tune in recent months. 

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The NYT interview came the same month Holliday put up his famous camcorder for sale, with bids starting at $225,000. "I hope this video camera inspires people to use their power to record events that they find troubling," he said at the time. It appears that the camcorder was never sold, with the auction house responsible noting on its website that zero bids were received, and the auction was closed as of July 30, 2020.

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It's unclear when and where Holliday will be buried, further details were not available. According to reports, both his marriages failed so it is unclear if he is survived by any immediate family.