Gary Coleman's Secret Divorce and Increasingly Strange Death

It turns out the actor was divorced, so it was his ex-wife who called 911 when he suffered a head injury at home

By Natalie Finn Jun 03, 2010 2:35 AMTags
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Did Shannon Price have the authority to instruct the doctors to take Gary Coleman off life support?

That's in question—along with a few other things—now that documents have surfaced proving that Coleman and Price, who he married in August 2007, got divorced in 2008 due to "irreconcilable differences." A judge signed off on the split on Aug. 12 of that year, not long after the duo appeared on Divorce Court in an apparent attempt to save their marriage.

And yet there they were in bed together on the night he suffered his ultimately fatal head injury.

Price was the one who called 911 one week ago to report that Coleman had fallen down in their Utah home and was unconscious. She told police that they had been in bed when she asked him to get her something to eat; then, while still in the master bedroom, she heard a thud from downstairs.

"He fell. His head is bloody," Price told the 911 dispatcher, according to an audio recording of the call. "There's blood all over the floor. I don't know what happened."

When the dispatcher asked her to go downstairs to check out Coleman's condition, Price resisted, saying, "I've just been kind of sick. I don't want to be traumatized right now.

She did ultimately go downstairs to help. She can be heard relaying the dispatcher's instructions to Coleman to put pressure on his head wound.

"I just can't be here with the blood," Price said on the phone. "I'm sorry, I can't do it. I can't...There's blood all over and I can't do anything." Right before a crew arrived at their house, she said, "I'm gagging, I got blood on myself, I can't deal."

"I just don't want him to die," she said. "I'm freaking out, like, really bad."

According to the Santaquin Police Department's incident report, Coleman was bleeding from a 2-inch laceration on his head, but was awake enough to answer the paramedics' questions. The Diff'rent Strokes star was also able to walk to the ambulance that transported him to the hospital.

Per the report, Price stayed upstairs once paramedics arrived, telling them she could not look at blood "or she would pass out or go into a seizure"—a common reaction, the investigator noted.

The officer stated that he observed "nothing suspicious."

Read the police report.

Us Weekly reported that Coleman had been in a weakened state when he fell after undergoing a four-hour kidney dialysis treatment. The 42-year-old was born with one failed kidney and had related health problems throughout his life.

Doctors said that Coleman suffered a brain hemorrhage from his apparent fall, which caused him to slip into a coma. He was taken off life support on Friday.

Meanwhile, a hospital official says that Price identified herself as Coleman's wife and she wasn't asked to provide documented proof. Coleman's divorce lawyer, Randy Kester, said he didn't know whether Price had power of attorney to make medical decisions on the actor's behalf.

"Some people in the public are raising issues whether she had authority to do that," Kester told Us. "I think there's going to be some developing controversy about some issues of authority."

And here come Coleman's estranged parents, who are demanding answers to the questions they have about their son's death.

"It's too early for us to comment on this. Of course we're concerned, but we need to find out more information," mom Sue Price told People.

Coleman's body has been turned over to Utah's state medical examiner's office for further examination, according to RadarOnline. "The state medical examiner's office looks at cases to determine answers to questions," said Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank.

Coleman's family was hoping to hold a funeral service for him sometime this weekend, but plans have not been finalized.

(Originally published June 2, 2010, at 4:20 p.m. PT)

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