Gary Coleman's Death Officially Ruled Accidental - NBC Bay Area

Gary Coleman's Death Officially Ruled Accidental

Child star's ex continues legal fighht for estate



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    Shannon Price said she planned to renew her wedding vows with Coleman.

    The death of diminutive "Diff'rent Strokes" actor Gary Coleman has been officially ruled an accident by authorities in Utah.

    Santaquin Police Chief Dennis Howard said an autopsy determined the actor died of natural causes following a fall on May 26. The state medical examiner's conclusions bring the police investigation into the death to a close, Howard said.

    The 42-year-old actor died at a Provo hospital two days after his fall. He was taken off life support after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

    An e-mail message sent to a spokeswoman for Coleman's former wife, Shannon Price, who made the decision to remove him from life support, was not immediately returned late Wednesday.

    From 1978-86, Coleman played Arnold Jackson, the younger one of a pair of African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man named Mr. Drummond.

    His adult life was troubled. He moved to Utah in fall 2005, and according to a tally in early 2010, officers had been called to assist or intervene with Coleman more than 20 times. In one instance, Coleman called police for help after he claimed he had taken dozens of pain killers and "wanted to die."

    He and Price divorced in 2008, but continued to live together. Price has petitioned the Utah courts to recognize her common law relationship with Coleman from the date of their divorce through his May 28 death. She is seeking the recognition as part of an ongoing legal battle over Coleman's estate, which includes the house in Santaquin, about 65 miles south of Salt Lake City.

    Coleman's ex-girlfriend Anna Gray contends a 2005 document awards her the estate.

    Selected Reading: The Associated Press, New York Daily News,