Friday, May 27, 2011

Jeff Conaway, R.I.P.

From Today.com --

Jeff Conaway, who starred in "Taxi" and played Danny Zuko's buddy Kenickie in 1978's "Grease," has died after more than two weeks in a coma.

Spokeswoman Kathryn Boole says the 60-year-old actor died Friday morning at the Encino Tarzana Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized in a coma since May 11. His manager, Phil Brock, has said Conaway had tried to treat himself with pain pills and cold medicine while in weakened health.

The actor was found unconscious in his apartment on May 11. Doctors had said there was no hope for his recovery and his family decided to take him off life support on Thursday, according to E! News.

Conaway's ex-girlfriend, Vikki Lizzi, had gone to court to try and prevent the action. E! reports that Lizzi and Conaway had filed dueling restraining orders against each other in March after their breakup. At the time, Conaway had claimed she was injecting him with prescription drugs against his will.

Conaway had publicly battled addiction issues, and was treated by Dr. Drew Pinsky on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab."

After Lizzi discovered Conaway unconscious on May 11, manager Phil Brock first said that an overdose of painkillers was a likely culprit. That theory was disputed days later by Pinsky, who said that there was no sign of an intentional overdose and instead the actor was suffering from pneumonia and the blood poisoning known as sepsis.

The actor had struggled with health and substance abuse problems for years, and in 2008, told radio host Howard Stern "I've tried to commit suicide 21 times."

"Not an OD like press is alleging & certainly not dead," Pinsky tweeted late last week after visiting Conaway.

E! Online quoted some of Conaway's Hollywood friends reacting to the news.

"Grease" costar John Travolta recalled his former T-Bird wingman. "Jeff Conaway was a wonderful and decent man, and we will miss him," Travolta told E! News. "My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time."

"Yet again another beautiful soul is wasted due to the growing problem of pharmaceutical addiction," Corey Feldman told E! News. "I have lost way too many friends because of irresponsible practices where doctors are overmedicating obvious addicts. It's horrific and disgusting! My heart goes out to Jeff's family, he was a wonderful human."

E! also reported that former "Munsters" star Butch Patrick, a onetime party pal of Conaway, said he was "devastated" by the loss.

Conaway was married to Rona Newton-John, sister of singer Olivia, in the early '80s. He is survived by their son, Emerson, a professional racecar driver.

1 comment:

iZombie said...

sad, sad, sad... day!
thanks for the news.