LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his roles in the television series “Taxi” and the 1978 movie “Grease,” died today at age 60.
Conaway, who appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008, was hospitalized earlier this month after being found unconscious in his home May 11 due to what was widely reported as a drug overdose. “Celebrity Rehab” host Drew Pinsky wrote on his Twitter page that Conaway had not overdosed, but was suffering from a combination of pneumonia and sepsis.
Pinsky said Conaway had been placed in a medically induced coma.
The actor’s family took him off life support last night.
A native of New York, Conaway began his acting career on Broadway but burst onto the national scene in the late 1970s when he starred as Kenickie in the film musical “Grease,” along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
“Jeff Conaway was a wonderful and decent man, and we will miss him,” Travolta told E!News. “My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time.”
He also became a television regular for playing Wheeler, a cab driver, on the hit sitcom “Taxi.”
His career was plagued with substance abuse problems. Conaway said he suffered a back injury while filming “Grease,” leading to an addiction to pain killers. On “Celebrity Rehab,” he admitted addictions to cocaine and alcohol.