'Diff'rent Strokes' star Gary Coleman dies

Posted May 28, 2010

— Gary Coleman, the child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" whose later career was marred by medical and legal problems, has died after suffering an intercranial hemorrhage. He was 42.

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank says life support was terminated and Coleman died at 12:05 p.m. MDT.

Coleman, with his sparkling eyes and perfect comic timing, became a star after "Diff'rent Strokes" debuted in 1978. He played the younger brother in a pair of black siblings adopted by a wealthy white man.

His popularity faded when the show ended after six seasons on NBC and two on ABC.

He suffered continuing ill health from the kidney disease that stunted his growth and had a host of legal problems in recent years.

An ambulance was called to Coleman's home Wednesday, and he was initially transported to Mountain View Hospital in Payson, the nearest medical facility, said Dennis Howard, Santaquin's director of public safety.

A family statement released earlier Friday says Coleman was later moved to the regional medical center in Provo for additional tests and treatment.

Coleman moved to Utah in 2005 to star in the movie "Church Ball," a comedy based on basketball leagues formed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He met his wife Shannon Price on the movie set and married her in 2007.

Last fall, Coleman had heart surgery complicated by pneumonia, said his Utah attorney Randy Kester.

In February, Coleman also suffered a seizure on the set of "The Insider." Also in February, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge related to an April 2009 domestic violence incident at his home.

Coleman also had a string of financial and legal problems.

The family acknowledged his struggles in its statement, saying Coleman had had "difficulties not only with health issues, but also with his personal and public life."

"At times it may not have been apparent, but he always had fond memories of being an entertainer and appreciates his fans for all their support over the years," the family said.

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  • missjohnston04 May 28, 2010

    such a sad story. May he rest in peace. Loved differnt strokes, although it seems all the child stars from that show had problems and now this comes on the anniversary of Dana Plato's death and that of her son. :(