Jeff Conaway, 60, who starred on TV in “Taxi” and on the big screen in “Grease,” died today at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center in the Los Angeles area after being in a coma for more than two weeks, E! Online reported.
Conaway, whose struggle with drugs and alcohol went public in 2008 when he appeared on the TV reality show “Celebrity Rehab,” was taken off life support after his family was informed by doctors that he was brain dead and would not recover. He had been in a coma since he was taken to the hospital after being found unconscious at his home on May 11.
His final days were marked by a dispute between his family and his ex-girlfriend, Vikki Lizzi, who went to court in an unsuccessful attempt to block Conaway’s family from removing life support.
Controversy also continues over the cause of death. Conaway’s manager, Phil Brock, initially reported that Conaway overdosed on painkillers. But television host Dr. Drew Pinsky, who worked with Conaway on “Celebrity Rehab” and recently visited Conaway in the hospital, disputed that theory.
"There is no evidence showing Jeff died from an overdose,” Pinsky said. “This was aspiration with overwhelming pneumonia and sepsis. Jeff is another example of a pharmaceutical death from the overutilization of prescription drugs.”