Funeral for Coleman to be held in Utah

Funeral services for actor Gary Coleman, who died from a brain injury, May 28 will be held this weekend in Salt Lake City.

Details of the memorial were not set, and the service will be held either Friday or Saturday, according to Coleman’s agent, Shielia Erickson. It also had not been determined whether the memorial would be private or open to the public. The family hopes to have all memorial plans set by Thursday.

GARY COLEMAN, left, when he starred in “Diff’rent Strokes” and right, current.

“We’re trying to honor Gary’s wishes and trying to know exactly what those are,” Erickson said.

Coleman, who starred in the 1970s and ’80s sitcom, “Diff’rent Strokes,” died at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center after suffering a fall at his Santaquin home last week. He was 42.

Erickson said Coleman’s wife, Shannon Price, whom the actor met in 2005 while shooting the local film, “Church Ball,” has been having a difficult time dealing with his death. Price had been staying with a brother in Salt Lake City.

“It’s been really hard on Shannon,” Erickson said. “Today was the first day she could hold down food. We’ve been really worried about her health.”

Coleman, with his spark­ling eyes and perfect comic timing, became a star after “Diff’rent Strokes” debuted in 1978. He played the younger brother in a pair of African-American siblings adopted by a wealthy White man.

His popularity faded when the show ended after six seasons on NBC and two on ABC.

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

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center released the statement on behalf of Coleman’s family.

It also says Coleman, 42, was conscious and lucid until midday Thursday, when his condition worsened and he slipped into unconsciousness. Coleman was then placed on life support.

An ambulance was called to Coleman’s home Wednesday, and he was initially transported to Mountain View Hospital in Payson, the nearest medical facility, said Dennis Howard, Santaquin’s director of public safety.

The family statement says Coleman was later moved to the regional medical center in Provo for additional tests and treatment.

The hospital did not give details on Coleman’s condition beyond calling it an intracranial hemorrhage, which is bleeding inside the head.

Dr. Jennifer Majersik, a stroke specialist and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Utah, said intracranial hemorrhages can be broken vessels within the brain itself or next to it. Majersik, who is not involved in Coleman’s treatment and is unfamiliar with the case, said the most serious types involve a broken vessel inside the brain.

Hemorrhaging can also occur on the surface of the brain or in the protective layers between the brain and the skull, Majersik said.

Coleman moved to Utah in 2005 to star in the movie “Church Ball,” a comedy based on basketball leagues formed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He met his wife Shannon Price on the movie set and married her in 2007.

Last fall, Coleman had heart surgery complicated by pneumonia, said his Utah attorney Randy Kester.

In February, Coleman also suffered a seizure on the set of “The Insider.” Also in February, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge related to an April 2009 domestic violence incident at his home.

Coleman also had a string of financial and legal problems.

The family acknowledged his struggles in its statement, saying Coleman had had “difficulties not only with health issues, but also with his personal and public life.”

“At times it may not have been apparent, but he always had fond memories of being an entertainer and appreciates his fans for all their support over the years,” the family said.


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