Jeff Conaway dies after being taken off life support
Jeff Conaway, who starred in the sitcom Taxi, played swaggering Kenickie in the movie musical Grease and publicly battled drug and alcohol addiction on Celebrity Rehab, died Friday. He was 60.
The actor was taken off life support Thursday and died Friday morning at Encino Tarzana Medical Center, according to one of his managers, Kathryn Boole. He was taken there unconscious on May 11 and placed in a medically induced coma,
Conaway had been treating himself with pain pills and cold medicine while in weakened health, said Phil Brock, her 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."
Conaway told the Los Angeles Times in a January 2011 article that series producers asked him to "give them drama." But he also said he welcomed the support he received from those who viewed his struggle.
"I got a lot of love from people, and when people stop me on the street and say, `Man, your story touched me so much,' it just makes all this pain worthwhile, you know?" he said. "I don't know where actors go after they die, but I know people who help other people have a nice place to go. And I would like to go there if I can."
Conaway was wed twice, first to Kerri Young and then to Rona Newton-John, sister of pop star Olivia Newton-John. Both marriages ended in divorce.