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updated 10/7/2010 6:08:10 AM ET 2010-10-07T10:08:10

Police confirmed Wednesday that "Diff'rent Strokes" actor Gary Coleman's death has been ruled an accident.

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Santaquin Police Chief Dennis Howard said an autopsy found Coleman died of natural causes after an accidental fall. The finding matches the evidence police found at Coleman's Santaquin home on May 26, Howard told The Associated Press.

The state medical examiner's conclusions bring the police investigation into the death to a close, Howard said.

The 42-year-old actor died at a Provo hospital two days after his fall. He was taken off life support after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

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An e-mail message sent to a spokeswoman for Coleman's former wife, Shannon Price, who made the decision to remove him from life support, was not immediately returned late Wednesday.

Plagued by health, legal problems
Coleman became a star after "Diff'rent Strokes" debuted in 1978. For eight seasons, Coleman played Arnold Jackson, the younger one of a pair of African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man. The tiny 10-year-old's "Whachu talkin' 'bout?" became a popular catch phrase from the show.

Coleman's adult life was plagued with heath and legal problems.

He moved to Utah in fall 2005, and according to a tally in early 2010, officers had been called to assist or intervene with Coleman more than 20 times. In one instance, Coleman called police for help after he claimed he had taken dozens of pain killers and "wanted to die."

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Some of the disputes involved Price, whom he met on the set of the 2006 "Church Ball" and married in 2007. The couple divorced a year later but continued to live together and present themselves as married in public.

Price has petitioned the Utah courts to recognize her common law relationship with Coleman from the date of their divorce through his May 28 death. She is seeking the recognition as part of an ongoing legal battle over Coleman's estate, which includes the house in Santaquin, about 65 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Coleman, who was cremated weeks after his death, left multiple wills, although a note handwritten by Coleman days after his 2007 marriage names Price his sole heir.

Coleman's ex-girlfriend Anna Gray contends a 2005 document awards her the estate.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Gary Coleman

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  1. Star's sad goodbye

    Actor Gary Coleman arrives for 6th Annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 8, 2008. The former "Diff'rent Strokes" child star died May 28, 2010, at a Utah hospital after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage in a fall at his home. He was 42 years old. (Chris Pizzello / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Trouble with the law

    Coleman is shown in a booking photo provided by the Utah County jail on Jan. 24, 2010. The actor was arrested in Utah on a warrant for failing to appear in court, police said. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. One tall order

    Coleman joins a couple pals at the the premiere of "Midgets vs. Mascots" during the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival at AMC Village VII in New York on April 25, 2009. The film is a mockumentury about five little people and five mascots who compete against one another in 30 absurdly ridiculous events to win a million dollars. (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Riding high

    Coleman exits his truck to enter court in Payson, Utah, on Dec. 2, 2008. He pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a September incident at a bowling alley in Payson, about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City. (Stuart Johnson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. New bride

    Coleman and his wife Shannon Price appear on the TODAY show in New York on Feb. 26, 2008. Coleman secretly wed his girlfriend of five months on Aug. 28, 2007. They met on the set of the 2006 comedy film "Church Ball." (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Our man in the field

    Demonstrators who suggest that pop icon Michael Jackson is guilty of child abuse confront Coleman, center, as he works for a comedy radio show while Jackson is in court on the first day of opening statements for his child molestation trial in Santa Maria, Calif., on Feb. 28, 2005. (David McNew / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. An actor? As governor? Ridiculous

    Coleman, a candidate for governor in California's recall election, poses after a news conference announcing the Game Show Network's new show titled "Who Wants To Be Governor of California? The Debating Game" in Los Angeles on Aug. 15, 2003. (Carlo Allegri / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Money woes

    Coleman announces that he is filing for bankruptcy in federal court in Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 1999. "This is the last step in 10 years of steps to mitigate and eliminate the dead weight of the past and is the day I have been looking forward to," Coleman said. The actor said mismanagement of his income as a child star led to his financial troubles. (James Peterson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Run with it

    Coleman, center, stars with Michael Lembeck and Lisa Eilbacher in the 1981 film "On the Right Track." Coleman plays Lester, a homeless shoeshine boy who has a knack for picking winning horses out of the newspaper. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Space cadet

    Coleman and Gil Gerard star in the television series "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" which aired from 1979-1981. Coleman played a child genius from the 20th century named Hieronymous Fox. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Big fame for little stars

    Coleman, left, and French actor Herve Villechaize pose together at the Fifth Annual Emmy Awards Banquet, in Pasadena, Calif., on Sept. 8, 1979. Coleman was starring in in "Diff'rent Strokes" as Arnold and Villechaize in "Fantasy Island" as Tattoo at the time. Villechaize died in 1993. (Frank Edwards / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

    Coleman, right, starred with Todd Bridges, left, and Conrad Bain in the series "Diff'rent Strokes" from 1978-86. Coleman played Arnold Jackson and Bridges was his older brother, Willis. Bain was Mr. Drummond, a rich widower who adopted the boys. (NBC via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Fits to a T

    Coleman and Mr. T square off in the "Diff'rent Stokes" episode "Mr. T and mr. t" in 1983. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Mr. October's pal

    In a undated photo, Coleman gets a lift from former New York Yankees star Reggie Jackson. (Lennox Mclendon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Couple of comedians

    Coleman poses with actress Lucille Ball during a break in filming "The Lucille Ball Special" in Hollywood, Calif., on Nov. 19, 1979. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: Coleman’s father: My son’s soul ‘won’t rest’

  1. Closed captioning of: Coleman’s father: My son’s soul ‘won’t rest’

    >> meredith, over to you.

    >>> it has been two weeks since gary coleman suddenly died from a massive brain hemorrhage and there are still lingering questions about the circumstances surrounding his death. there are also questions about the rights to his estate after his ex-wife filed a request thursday to take it over. sue and willie coleman are gary coleman 's parents and they graciously stuck around to talk to us exclusively. good morning to you once again. as i said when we talk in the last hour, this has to be a very hard time for you. why did you decide you wanted to come here and speak out?

    >> i basically want to say that i want all of the talk to stop. gary 's gone. i want his body put away respectfully so that we all can bring some closure to this part of him. i think with all the talk that's been going on that people going on talk shows and saying this, saying that, some true, some not true -- enough. let's just put him away so he can -- his spirit can just go on to where it's going and -- he's at rest. i know he is and the rest of us need to bring some closure to it.

    >> at this point your son has not even been buried.

    >> not that we know of.

    >> not that you know of.

    >> not that we know of.

    >> that is one of my wishes. if they is going to go ahead and take care of like burying him or either cremating him, please, by all mean, go ahead and do that because his soul is with jesus. there for eternity. but it is his spirit that's not going to rest until he's laid to rest. see? if you believe in god the way i do, this is the way i've been taught all my life, this is the way i was brought up through four dinfferent churches of religion that i have been a part of, that your soul is in the bosom of jesus, but your spirit spirit --

    >> it lingers.

    >> it lingers. yes. let me ask you what may be a difficult question. in the last years of your son's life he was very bitter towards both of you publicly. said things that were not kind. you are not bitter towards him. why not?

    >> because he was our child.

    >> we loved him.

    >> we love him. and we were always open to him. we hoped and we prayed that at some point he would say, oh, okay, you know, and particularly when he got married, we thought, wow, you know? come home. we have a daughter-in-law.

    >> were you happy that he had got married?

    >> yes.

    >> very happy.

    >> yes. because my daily prayers for him was for the florida bring him someone, a companion, that he loved and loved him and they could communicate and they could be together and he would not be alone. that was my prayer for him. and i was very happy when -- we both were. we thought, well? if they come home, then we have -- we make big plans or whatever. that never happened but in our hearts we still love him.

    >> and not only that, we both had told all our friends, guess what? gary got married. gary 's married. and hopeful we're going to meet the wife, everything, and we can sit down and talk and everything, laugh and go on and tell us some of the things that went on when he was small and everything and how we dealt with it, all that and everything. you know?

    >> it's almost like you lost your son twice.

    >> we did.

    >> yeah.

    >> we did. we lost him first time when he turned 21. from that point on we very rarely heard from him. when we did, most we heard, through someone else , you know, that they had collaborated with gary and what was on the up and down. but the last time we lost him, he's lost forever until we cross over some day, everything. it is inevitable we all got to go. we all going to meet each other. loved ones and everything. won't be no more pain, no more hard feelings, no more ache and all that on the other side. we all going to get there and there will be peace.

    >> right now, there isn't peace.

    >> no, no peace. no peace.

    >> the executors, former manager for his ex-wife, shannon price , as we said is fighting back, she wants to control the estate. do you plan to fight the will at all?

    >> no.

    >> not at all.

    >> you have no interest?

    >> not at all. why would we? i mean, there is enough going on. there is enough disrespect toward him with all this that's going on. and we just would not be a part of that.

    >> we never -- didn't even know there was a will until --

    >> and an estate. we didn't know anything about this.

    >> let me ask you, sue, the last words your son ever said to you, do you remember?

    >> yes.

    >> that he loved us.

    >> at our home in the driveway as he was going away to go back to i think he was at los angeles at that time, or wfr he was.

    >> no, colorado.

    >> how many years ago?

    >> that was probably somewhere around 2000 , 2001 . in there someplace. as he was leaving, we said, good-bye. we said i love you. and he said, "i love you, too."

    >> yeah.

    >> that was the last time.

    >> yep.

    >> we greatly appreciate you being with us this morning. i started out the interview asking you how you will remember him as a son. how do you want the public to remember him?

    >> well, the laughter, for the joy, for all the years that he entertained people. we've gotten many, many letters and cards from not only here but from abroad, too, that said we enjoyed him. that's how we want him remembered. for the joy that he brought to so many people.

    >> sue, thank you so much. willie, thank you so much.


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