Gary Coleman's Death Ruled an Accident by Authorities

Actor Gary Coleman attends the premiere of "Midgets vs. Mascots" during the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2009, in New York.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Authorities have ruled Thursday that "Diff'rent Strokes" actor Gary Coleman's death was an accident.

PICTURES: Gary Coleman: 1968-2010

An autopsy found the former child star died of natural causes after an accidental fall at his Utah home in May, Santaquin Police Chief Dennis Howard said.

The 42-year-old actor died on May 28 at a Provo hospital two days after his fall. He was taken off life support after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

The state medical examiner's conclusions bring the police investigation into the death to a close, Howard said.

Coleman became a star after "Diff'rent Strokes" debuted in 1978. For eight seasons, he played Arnold Jackson, the younger brother of a pair of African-American siblings adopted by a wealthy white man.

Coleman suffered continuing ill health from the kidney disease that stunted his growth and had a host of legal problems in recent years

His death has sparked a legal dispute between his ex-wife and a close friend, who both contend they are rightful heirs to his estate.

Ex-wife Shannon Price, who made the decision to remove Coleman from life support, 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.

Meanwhile, Anna Gray, a former close friend and the CEO of Coleman's company, contends a 2005 document awards her the estate.


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