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Death of Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman examined on Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…

Gary Coleman as a child
A still of Gary Coleman as a child from Autopsy: The Last Hours Of… on REELZChannel

The death of Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman is examined in detail on this week’s episode of REELZChannel’s documentary series Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…

The episode looks at whether his death at age 42 in May 2010 after falling down the stairs at his home — which it’s thought may have happened after he suffered a seizure — was an accident or whether there was more to it.

Hardly any details about Coleman’s medical records have ever been made public. In an interview in 1993 he revealed he had twice tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills.

He had also suffered several known health problems over the course of his life, including at least two unsuccessful kidney transplants early on. He later needed to receive regular dialysis.

Coleman had heart surgery in 2009 and later developed pneumonia, then suffered two seizures in early 2010.

The star suffered financial troubles in his later years, and the series looks at whether his death was in any way linked to overworking.

Interviewees talk about how Coleman worked “non-stop” while trying to deal with health issues, and claim that the pressures of his life became “insurmountable from time to time”.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter says: “Gary Coleman died in mysterious circumstances. Is this the sad tale of a childhood star who went off the rails?”

He adds: “I found something else in Gary’s past that is cause for concern, and it raises big questions about his mental state.”

Autopsy: The Last Hours Of… Gary Coleman airs tonight at 9/8c on REELZChannel.

Julian Cheatle

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