Jeff Conaway, Star of 'Grease' and 'Taxi,' Battled with Drug Addiction for Years

"He was trying so hard to get clean and sober," Conaway's manager said.

ByABC News
May 28, 2011, 2:10 PM

May 28, 2011— -- Jeff Conaway, the actor best known for his roles in "Grease" and "Taxi," endured a long battle with drugs and alcohol addiction before he died Friday.

"It's sad that people remember his struggle with drugs. ... He has touched so many people," manager Kathryn Boole told The Associated Press.

"He was trying so hard to get clean and sober," Boole said. "If it hadn't been for his back pain, I think he would have been able to do it."

Conaway died in a Los Angeles area hospital after falling into a coma two weeks ago from a possible overdose of prescription medication.

The 60-year-old actor was taken off life support by his family, according to Boole.

Conaway has publicly battled addiction and appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab" series in 2008, when he admitted his addiction to cocaine, alcohol and painkillers and talked about his sexual abuse as a child and his co-dependent relationship with his then-girlfriend Vikki Lizzi.

During his second season on the show, Conaway left rehab before graduation and was seen taking painkillers after he arrived home.

Earlier this week"Celebrity Rehab's" Dr. Drew Pinsky said Conaway's hospitalization was a result of pneumonia and sepsis, not from an overdose.

Pinky said on his HLN network show, "Dr. Drew" Friday that he told Conaway that the accessibility of prescription opiates for addicts like Conaway was "going to kill him."

Conaway began acting on Broadway at age two, but it was his role as Danny's sidekick Kenickie in "Grease" that earned him fame.

He went on to star as out-of-work actor Bobby Wheeler in the TV series "Taxi."

After a number of television and film appearances, he landed role in another series, playing Sgt. Zack Allan on "Babylon 5."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.