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Jeff Conaway of 'Grease,' 'Taxi' Dead at 60

Michael Bezjian/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Actor Jeff Conaway, who had slipped into a coma earlier this month, has died at the age of 60, according to published reports.

Conaway was best known for his roles as Kenickie in the 1978 smash film Grease and Bobby Wheeler on the TV show Taxi.  He also played Zack Allen on Babylon 5.

Initial reports were that Conaway, who suffered from ill health and had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, had overdosed, but the actor's friend Dr. Drew Pinsky tweeted earlier this week that in fact Conaway had been placed in a medically-induced coma in order to recover from pneumonia and sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood.  Conaway and Pinsky became friends after Conaway appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008.

While on the show, Conaway appeared to be in poor shape, often using a wheelchair.  He spoke about having suicidal thoughts, and said that he had been abused as a child.  In 2010, his physical condition deteriorated after he suffered a near-fatal fall that resulted in a brain hemorrhage and neck and hip fractures.

Conaway was married twice.  He had no children.

Speaking to ABC News Radio just hours before Conaway died, actress Tawny Kitaen, a friend of the actor's since they appeared together on Celebrity Rehab, said, "If he does go, I promise you, he will be in a much better place.  Having to live the way that he lives right now, I just couldn't do it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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