Grease star Jeff Conaway dies aged 60
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Posted 28 May 2011 - 08:50 AM
Grease star Jeff Conaway died today after a long battle with drug and alcohol addiction. The actor was taken off life support yesterday and passed away this morning at Encino Tarzana Medical Center.
He was taken there unconscious on May 11 after an overdose and placed in a medically induced coma.Conaway had been treating himself with pain pills and cold medicine while in a weakened condition, his manager Phil Brock said. His former Grease co-star John Travolta today paid tribute to a 'wonderful and decent man.'
He said in a statement: 'My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time.' 'We will miss him.' Of his troubled client, Brock said: 'He's a gentle soul with a good heart... but he's never been able to exorcise his demons.'
Conaway was unresponsive when his on-again, off-again girlfriend Victoria Spinoza found him at the San Fernando Valley home where he was staying with a friend two weeks ago. Spinoza had been war with his family in recent weeks and had tried to block their decision to turn off his life support.
The actor's sister, Carla Shreve, had earlier sought a restraining order against her in which she claimed Conaway had split from with Spinoza was 'afraid' of her. Spinoza's relationship with the actor had certainly been tumultuous - they had filed restraining orders against each other earlier this year. They were then pictured together at an autograph show earlier this month and Spinoza's friends say they were in the process of reconciling.
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. The actor had acknowledged his addictive tendencies in a 1985 interview he described turning his back on the dream of a pop music career. He'd played guitar in a 1960s band called 3 1/2 that was the opening act for groups including Herman's Hermits, the Young Rascals and the Animals.
'I thought, "If I stay in this business, I'll be dead in a year." There were drugs all over the place and people were doing them. I had started to do them. I realized that I'd die,' Conaway said.
His effort to avoid addiction failed, and his battles with cocaine and other substances were painfully shared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, the VH1 series with TV and radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky.
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