But after "Diff'rent Strokes" went off the air in 1986, Coleman's career stalled. He made appearances in a number of 1990s TV shows, like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "The Drew Carrey Show," but substantial parts eluded him.
Financial problems also plagued Coleman following his "Diff'rent Strokes" run. In 1989, he sued his parents and former manager over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund. In 1993, he won a ruling of almost $1.3 million. But in 1999, Coleman filed for bankruptcy, attributing his financial problems to mismanagement of his trust.
Coleman's health may have also sidelined his career. He suffered from the congenital kidney condition that halted his growth at an early age and despite two kidney transplants, required him to undergo daily dialysis.
Because of his unstable condition, Coleman did not undergo any surgery while hospitalized just before his death, according to Alcantar.
"In recent years Gary Coleman has had difficulties, not only with health issues, but also with his personal and public life," Alcantar said. "At times, it may not have been apparent, but he always has had fond memories of being an entertainer and appreciates his fans for all their support over the years."
As he grew older, Coleman had multiple run-ins with the law. In 1998, while working as a mall security guard, he punched Tracy Fields, a bus driver who asked for his autograph, and was charged with assault. Coleman was ordered to pay Fields' resulting hospital bills, and though his monetary loss was less than $2,000, the cost of the assault was dire to his reputation -- much of Hollywood ceased to take him seriously, chalking him up as a child actor gone bad.