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Famous friends, both new and old, are mourning the death of Jeff Conaway, who passed away on Friday after slipping into a coma.
Conaway, 60, rose to fame in 1978 with two memorable roles: John Travolta's sidekick Kenickie in the musical Grease, and struggling actor Bobby Wheeler on the critically acclaimed sitcom Taxi.
Sadly, his later years took him from heartthrob to cautionary tale, as his drug and alcohol abuse spiraled out of control. In 2008, he appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab as an incoherent, belligerent shadow of his former self. But friends would like the world to remember Conaway the way they knew him: as a wonderful and incredibly talented guy. Here are a few of the tributes that Conaway's famous pals have made to the actor in the days following his death.
John Travolta, Grease costar, to E! News: "Jeff Conaway was a wonderful and decent man, and we will miss him. My heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time."
Marilu Henner, Taxi costar, to Entertainment Weekly: "He was such a sweetheart. I've known him since Nov. 28, 1972! We did Grease (on Broadway) together before we did Taxi.. He had this wicked sense of humor but he was so sweet, so sweet, in a way that I think a lot of people don't realize... I was always happy to hear from him, and I hope younger kids don't think of him as just a guy from Celebrity Rehab because he was so much more."
Olivia Newton-John, Grease costar and Conaway's former sister-in-law, to E! News: "It's so very sad. Jeff had a good heart and was so very talented. He was a big part of our family for many years and he will be missed."
Danny DeVito, Taxi costar, to the N.Y. Daily News: "Jeff was a good man. I will always think of him fondly and our days together with the Taxi family."
Daniel Baldwin, fellow Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew cast member, to E! News: "I'm sad that Jeff is gone. In some ways his death evokes feelings of relief, as it appeared that he had been suffering for a long time. My prayers go out to his family and friends, to those who knew him in sobriety especially. Rest in peace Jeff. You will be missed and loved forever."
Corey Feldman, friend, to E! News: "Yet again another beautiful soul is wasted due to the growing problem of pharmaceutical addiction... My heart goes out to Jeff's family, he was a wonderful human."
According to Conaway's friend and physician Dr. Drew Pinsky, his death was caused by a combination of pneumonia and a bacterial infection, which were exacerbated by a prescription drug overdose.