One of Rodney King's daughters remembered him not as a civil rights figure, but as a "gentle giant" of a father, as he was to be buried Saturday.
"I will remember his smile, his unconditional love," said Laura Dene King, 28, to a phalanx of news cameras outside the Hall of Freedom at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, where her father was about to be interred.
"He was a great father, a great friend, he loved everyone. People will just have to smile when they think of him," she said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton was among the mourners at the service for King, whose beating at the hands of Los Angeles police in 1991 led to major department reforms.
It also led to the largest riot in Southland history, brought about by the acquittal of the officers who beat King.
The 47-year-old King was found in cardiac arrest two weeks ago at the bottom of the swimming at his Rialto home.
He died at a nearby hospital. The results of his autopsy have not been released.
"People should not be judged by the mistakes that they make, but by how they rise above them," Sharpton said. "Rodney had risen above his mistakes, he never mocked anyone, not the police, not the justice system, not anyone. He became a symbol of forgiveness."
The service -- which lasted about two hours and was attended by about 200 people -- was titled, "Welcome to the Home Going Celebration of Rodney Glen King - Sunrise April 2, 1965, Sunset June 17, 2012."
Behind the podium on a movie-sized screen flashed a video loop of slides depicting images of King at various points in his life, including his well- publicized news conference during the riots, when he uttered the phrase, "Can't we all just get along?"
On the floor below the stage was King's black and silver coffin, adorned by white and purple flowers. Next to it was a giant poster of King's smiling face.
On the other side of the casket stood a wreath of white and purple flowers.
Donors large and small chipped in for the funeral and other arrangements.
Television producer Anthony Zuiker donated $10,000, and arranged for the Universal Hilton hotel to provide a room for King's family's post-funeral reception.
"We lost a symbol, but they lost a loved one," Sharpton said. "Rodney was a healer."
King's longtime attorney, Steven Lerman, said most people made incorrect assumptions about King, not knowing his real background.
King had grown up in a mixed-race environment in middle-class Altadena, Lerman said.
Lerman said King's "Can we all just get along" lament at the height of the riot was a direct reflection of that background, and of the tolerance taught to King by his mother, Odessa King.
"That didn't just come out of the blue," Lerman said. "There was a certain playfulness in his spirit that always shined through."
He recalled his disbelief when King told him he had never seen the Watts Towers, a South Central L.A. landmark, and his joy at seeing them for the first time.
Today's services were held nearly two weeks after King's death, a delay that family members said was attributable to financial woes and disagreement about how it was to be handled. In the end, the family decided for a public ceremony, and allowed a pool TV camera inside.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had announced plans to be at the funeral, did not attend.