Gary Coleman dead at 42 after brief coma

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Photo from 'Nevada Tumbleweed' via Flickr

Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman passed away on Friday, May 28th, at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. The 42-year-old actor died at 12:05 PM.

Known for his small stature, Coleman suffered from a congenital kidney disease that required him to visit the hospital three times a week for dialysis. On Wednesday last week he returned home from the hospital, weak from his treatment. Around 3PM, Coleman fell and hit his head. His wife, Shannon Price, called an ambulance shortly after, reports MSN.

The fall caused a large gash on his head, and at the hospital they discovered that it also caused intracranial bleeding. He slipped into a coma and was put on life support Thursday. After his condition worsened, he was removed from life support. Soon after, “he passed quickly and peacefully,” stated his manger, John Alcantar.

Despite his domestic disputes and financial lawsuits, Coleman will always be remembered as the child television star of the late 1970s and early 1980s. By age 11, Coleman had become one of TV’s brightest stars with his role as the precocious Arnold Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes. The popular show starred Arnold and Willis, brothers who were adopted by a wealthy, white family. Coleman’s commonly mimicked catchphrase “What’choo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” will live on to remind everyone of the 4’8’’ star’s charm and early success.

“I said a prayer for him this morning after hearing about his condition. Gary was so loving, so charming…He was the big star of the show. He was the reason the show was a hit,” Diff’rent Strokes costar Charlotte Rae, who played Mrs. Garrett, tells TMZ.

Even Vanilla Ice—who met Coleman when he guest starred on an episode of “The Surreal Life” in 2004—expressed to TMZ his sorrow over Coleman’s death. “I’m shocked and deeply saddened. He was a great guy, a legend—everyone knows Gary Coleman.”

Several other stars expressed their grief on Twitter. BET reveals that Janet Jackson, who guest starred on Diff’rent Strokes, tweeted her respects. She said, “I’m at a loss for words upon learning of Gary Coleman’s passing. I want to remember him as the fun, playful adorable and affectionate man he was. He has left a lasting legacy. I know he is finally at peace.”

As of now, a memorial date has not yet been set.

Although small in size, Coleman shall be remembered as one of the greatest TV icons of the ‘80s, forever charming viewers as Arnold on the now syndicated Diff’rent Strokes.

*Photo from ‘Nevada Tumbleweed’ via Flickr

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