Yolanda King, actress and speaker, dies at age 51
May 16, 2007
Yolanda King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., greets children as she signs books after her presentation in January 2005 at WSU's Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Hundreds of people turned out to hear King's message of diversity. (Joe Barrentine The Spokesman-Review)
ATLANTA — Yolanda King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest child who
pursued her father’s dream of racial harmony through drama and motivational
speaking, collapsed and died after making a speech. She was 51.
died late Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., said Steve Klein, a spokesman for the
King Center. The family did not know the cause of death, but relatives think it
might have been a heart problem, he said.
“She was an actress, author,
producer, advocate for peace and nonviolence, who was known and loved for her
motivational and inspirational contributions to society,” the King family said
in a statement.
Former Mayor Andrew Young, a lieutenant of her father’s
who has remained close to the family, said Yolanda King had just spoken at an
event for the American Heart Association. She was helping the association raise
awareness, especially among blacks, about stroke.
Young said she was
going to her brother Dexter’s home when she collapsed in the doorway and “they
were not able to revive her.”