Troubled actor Jeff Conaway, star of TV and film classics “Taxi” and “Grease,” has died. The 60-year-old actor passed away Friday morning (May 27) at the Encino Tarzana Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized in a coma since May 11.
E! Online reports that Conaway’s family members, including his sister, decided Thursday to have doctors remove the feeding tube and ventilator that had been essentially keeping the actor alive. Conaway’s longtime girlfriend, Vikki Lizzi, reportedly objected to the family’s decision and went to court to try to block the move, but the family did not relent.
Conaway was found unconscious and was hospitalized following a suspected drug overdose that involved pain pills. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who worked with Conaway during his time on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” to treat his drug and alcohol addictions, took to his Twitter account last week to refute claims that Conaway’s condition was due to an overdose.
“Just visited Jeff Conaway,” Pinsky tweeted. “He is stable & looks like he will recover from his pneumonia. Not an OD like press is alleging & certainly not dead.”
Conaway’s manager Phil Brock told The Associated Press that the actor was a “gentle soul” but one who has been unable to “exorcise his demons.”
Conaway is perhaps best known for his portrayal of high school bad boy Kenickie in 1978’s hit movie adaptation of the “Grease” musical, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. He also appeared in the Broadway version of “Grease” and played struggling actor Bobby in the sitcom “Taxi,” alongside Danny DeVito and Tony Danza, from 1978 to 1981.
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