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U.S. actor Jeff Conaway dies at 60

05-30-2011 09:14 BJT

LOS ANGELES, May 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his roles in the 1970s hit television series "Taxi" and blockbuster film "Grease," died on Friday morning at age 60, local celebrity websites reported.

The former child star, who began acting on Broadway when he was only two years old, died in Encino, California after a long, sad life of addiction that made him one of Hollywood's cautionary tales.

He was hospitalized earlier this month at a hospital in Encino, after being found unconscious by his girlfriend Vikki Lizzi on May 11 due to a reported drug overdose. He most recently appeared on " Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew" in 2008.

"Celebrity Rehab" host Drew Pinsky, who treated Conaway on the show, tweeted that Conaway had not overdosed, but was suffering from a combination of pneumonia and sepsis.

Pinsky said Conaway had been placed in a medically induced coma. He never recovered from his coma and was pronounced dead on Friday.

The actor's condition was inevitable because he had been a serious pill popper for years and the constant substance abuse wore down his body, Pinsky was quoted as saying by celebrity web portal TMZ.com.

The actor's family took him off life support on Thursday night.

A native of New York, Conaway began his acting career on Broadway, and burst onto the national scene in 1978 when he starred as T-Bird Kenickie in the iconic musical "Grease," along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Travolta released a statement on the passing of his former co- star, saying he was a "wonderful and decent man."

Conaway also became a television regular for playing Bobby Wheeler, a cocky, vain, struggling cab driver on the hit sitcom " Taxi" from 1978 to 1981, a role which won him a nomination for a Golden Globe Award in 1978.

His career was plagued with substance abuse problems since the mid 1980s. The actor suffered a back injury while filming "Grease, " which led to an addiction to pain killers, it was reported.

On VH1's reality series "Celebrity Rehab," he admitted addictions to cocaine, alcohol and painkillers. He appeared on the second series of the show and was often seen in a wheelchair as his condition and addictions seemed to worsen.

 

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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