LOS ANGELES, Calif. –“RIP” — Actor Jeff Conaway who starred in the television sitcom “Taxi,” and the movie musical “Grease” died at a California hospital Friday, he was 60.
The actor who publicly battled drug and alcohol addiction was taken off life support Thursday and died Friday morning at Encino Tarzana Medical Center, according to his manager, Kathryn Boole.
Conaway was taken to the hospital on May 11 and placed in a medically induced coma after being found unconscious in his home.
Conaway had been treating himself with pain pills and cold medicine while in weakened health, said Phil Brock, his business partner.
Family members, including his sisters, nieces and nephews and his minister, were with him when he died, Boole said.
“It’s sad that people remember his struggle with drugs … he has touched so many people,” she said, calling Conaway a kind and intelligent man who was well-read and “always so interesting to talk to. We respected him as an artist and loved him as a friend.”
He was trying so hard to get clean and sober,” Boole added. “If it hadn’t been for his back pain, I think he would have been able to do it.”
“He’s a gentle soul with a good heart … but he’s never been able to exorcise his demons,” Brock said after Conaway was hospitalized.
Despite rumors of a drug overdose, family members said he was being treated for Pneumonia and sepsis.
While Conaway sought treatment for his various addictions back in the 1980s, he had relapsed by the 2000s. He appeared on Celebrity Fit Club in 2006, but left the show to go to rehab early in the season.
In 2008, he took his demons to Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where he became known for his train wreck tendencies.
“I’ve tried to commit suicide 21 times,” he told Howard Stern in an interview that year. “I’m terrible at it! I get depressed over how come I can’t kill myself,” he laughed, when Howard and Robin Quivers joked that he was obviously terrible at it.
“Mostly it’s been with pills,” he admitted when asked how he had attempted suicide in the past. “I’ve taken enough pills to knock an elephant out…God wants me on this planet for some reason or another.”
Conaway was married to Rona Newton John, Olivia’s sister, in the early 80s. He is survived by their son, Emerson, a professional race car driver.Tags: Actor Jeff Conaway dead at 60, drugs, Grease, Movies, RIP, taxi, Television