Jeff Conaway dies at age 60, is mourned by John Travolta
Jeff Conaway, star of "Taxi" and "Grease," has died at age 60 after he was taken off life support following a battle with pneumonia and sepsis in a hospital, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned.
The actor was rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital on May 11 and was put in a medically-induced coma while doctors worked to treat his ailments.
On Thursday, his family decided to remove him from life support after doctors declared him brain dead. He passed away after 10 a.m. local time on Friday, May 27.
Conaway played Kenickie, a member of the T-Birds clique and friend to John Travolta's Danny in the 1978 musical film "Grease" and portrayed Bobby Wheeler on the television show "Taxi," which also starred late comedian Andy Kaufman and ran between 1978 and 1983.
Travolta said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com that Conaway was "a wonderful and decent man."
"We will miss him," he said. "My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time."
His spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com that Conway's sister and nieces and nephews were at his side at the time of his death, saying the actor was "loved and respected" as a person and an artist.
Earlier reports had said Conaway had been hospitalized after suffering an overdose, which Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated Conaway on the reality show "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," has denied.
"There is no evidence showing Jeff died from an overdose," Pinsky said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com "This was aspiration with overwhelming pneumonia and sepsis. Jeff is another example of a pharmaceutical death from the overutilization of prescription drugs. Please continue to pray for his friends and family. They appreciate your support."
Conaway has battled addictions to cocaine, alcohol and prescription painkillers since he was a teenager and talked about his struggles on the reality series in 2008. Conaway was also hospitalized in January 2010 after falling down a staircase in his home. He broke his hip and arm, fractured his back and suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Aside from "Grease" and "Taxi," Conaway appeared on the sci-fi series "Babylon 5" in the 1990s as Zack Allan. In recent years, he appeared in small film projects. Before his death, he was working on a thriller called "Human Factor," which features "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" actress Charisma Carpenter, Eric Roberts and Sean Patrick Flanery.
Conaway was married twice - first to Rona Newton-John, sister of the actor's "Grease" co-star Olivia Newton-John, between 1980 and 1985. He married his second wife, Kerri Young, in 1990. The two later separated. The actor has no children of his own.
Conaway also recorded music with Vikki Lizzi, his on-again, off-again girlfriend. On Sunday, she posted a video on her Facebook page of what she said was the pair's last musical performance together, from Dec 4, 2010. Check out the video below.