The actor Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie in the popular musical 80s movie “Grease”, and starred in the well-known sitcom Taxi, died on Friday in the hospital after a two week induced coma, at age 60, according to Associated Press.
Conaway was taken off life support on Thursday and died one day later. He has been into an induced coma for approximately two weeks, after being brought to the Encino Tarzana Medical Center on May 11, in an unconscious state. The doctor placed him into a medically induced coma to treat him for pneumonia and sepsis, which is an infection in the blood, of bacterial origin.
Apparently he tried to treat himself by ingesting pain pills and common cold medicine, instead of seeking medical help.
“It’s sad that people remember his struggle with drugs. … He has touched so many people” said Kathryn Boole, who was one of his managers. “He was trying so hard to get clean and sober”, she added and continued by explaining that he wasn’t able in succeeding probably because of his back pain. She said that he was an intelligent man who was always interesting to talk to.
When it was time to disconnect him from the machines that were keeping him alive, all his family was beside him, including, sisters, nieces and nephews.
“He’s a gentle soul with a good heart … but he’s never been able to exorcise his demons” said Phil Brock, another of his managers.
Jeff Conaway appeared earlier on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s TV show, “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew”. And he was not the only celebrity that, after being on the show, died as a result of drug abuse. In 2009, former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr appeared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and in March 2010 he was found dead in Salt Lake City. The police reported that a month before he was arrested on suspicion of possessing medical drugs without having a recipe for them.
Dr. Drew Pinsky said that he told Conaway several times along the years that drugs are going to kill him. The he explains the cause the star’s pneumonia: when a person consumes too much of a drug, it gets into his lungs and causes the illness. The worst part is that the addict doesn’t seek medical air because his impairment prevents him from recognizing the presence of a serious condition.
In an interview in 2010, Conaway’s girlfriend Vikki Lizzi told E!News that he was taking about his death and the way he wants his funeral to be. “He’s talking about being burned on a boat and sent out to sea like a Viking funeral” she said at that time. At present, there is no information regarding the funeral.