UPDATE: Whoops. After the hospital spilled the beans, Price's rep now admits that Price and her family took pictures in Coleman's room—"but they were never meant to get out," she says.
Coleman's former agent Victor Perillo released a statement of his own:
"While Gary Coleman's family continues to privately grive the passing of their son, they would like to thank all of his fans for their generous support. This kind gentle soul left the world with many beautiful memories to cherish. That is why I am personally appalled to hear the news that individuals are selling photos of Gary in the hospital. This is unconscionable and despicable. I would like to praise all the reputable news organizations that declined the offers. I hope others will do the same out of respect and human decency."
Is Shannon Price shopping around photos of Gary Coleman from the days before and—much more disturbingly—hours after his death?
Depends who you ask.
Reports have been circulating that Price is not only selling such photos, but enlisted the help of a production company to stage the pictures and even posed in a few of the shots herself.
The photos of Coleman in his hospital bed, with tubes attached to his body, were according to TMZ, sold to an unspecified tabloid for possible publication as early as this week (we'll find out in a couple days which magazine, exactly, had the lowest asking price for its soul).
In fact, Shielia Erickson even goes so far as to say that if any photos were taken—and to her, it's a big if—they were certainly not staged.
"No production company took pictures of Gary in the hospital," Erickson said. "Shannon would never allow that!"
Coleman's manager was equally distraught over the prospect of Price trying to exploit the actor's death, but not quite ready to dismiss the report.
"If the report is true, I find it terribly wrong and distasteful that someone would try exploiting Gary's death in this manner," John Elm said. "Shame on those who are trying to profit from releasing such images."
And on those who print them.
(Originally published on June 7, 2010 at 1:35 p.m. PT)