Actor Gary Coleman dead at 42

Former child star Gary Coleman, who shot to fame on television sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" but suffered personal and financial woes as an adult, has died in a Utah hospital after being taken off life support, according to media reports.

Celebrity website said Coleman, 42, was taken off life support on Friday, and similar reports were filed by showbiz site and by CNN, citing a spokeswoman at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah.

The spokeswoman, who earlier issued a statement saying the actor had been put on life support following a brain haemorrhage this week, was not immediately available for confirmation. said the actor's wife Shannon made the decision to take her husband off life support, and he died at 12:05 pm local time. The diminutive Coleman, who suffered from a congenital kidney disease that halted his growth, was hospitalised after suffering an intracranial haemorrhage Wednesday night at his home in Santaquin, Utah.

The following day he was "conscious and lucid" in the morning, but in the afternoon his condition worsened, he slipped into unconsciousness and was placed on life support.

"We are saddened to announce that since mid-afternoon, Mountain Time, on May 27, 2010, Mr. Coleman has been unconscious and on life support," his manager John Alcantar said in the statement released on Friday morning by the Utah Valley Regional Medical Centre. Alcantar was not immediately available.

Coleman's history

Coleman gained fame as the sharp-talking, adopted son Arnold Jackson of a wealthy New Yorker in the hit sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," which aired on US television from 1978 to 1986. His famous line, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" when talking to his brother, became a pop culture catchphrase.

The child actor also made guest appearances on several hit US TV shows of the times, including "The Jeffersons," "Good Times" and "Silver Spoons"

But Coleman was never able to recapture the stardom he enjoyed as a child and teenager. As an adult, he would appear on some programs, but much of his work went straight to video.

He sued his parents and former manager for mishandling his finances, and for a time, he worked as a security guard.

In 1998, he was charged with assault after hitting a woman who asked for his autograph in one of several instances of disorderly conduct that landed him in legal trouble. Just this past January, he was arrested on a charge of domestic violence in Utah.

"At times, it may not have been apparent, but he always has had fond memories of being an entertainer and appreciates his fans for all their support over the years," Alcantar said in Friday's statement. - (Reuters Health, May 2010)

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