Gary Coleman, who died at age 42 on May 28, was born in Zion, Illinois. He was adopted at just one day old (in 1968) by Edmonia Sue, a nurse practitioner, and W.G. Coleman, a fork-lift operator. Health issues cropped up when he was a toddler.
Coleman began his child acting career with commercials in the 1970s and then on The Jeffersons and then played Arnold Jackson in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, portraying one of two young African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy Caucasian widower in Manhattan.
At the height of his fame on Diff'rent Strokes, he earned as much as $100,000 per episode. A Biography Channel documentary estimated he was left with a quarter of the original amount after paying his parents, advisers, lawyers, and taxes.
In 1989, Coleman sued his parents and former business adviser over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund. He won a $1,280,000 ruling on February 23, 1993. THe remained estranged from them and in addition to his health and financial issues he also had reportedly attempted suicide and had a tumultuous marriage including a domestic violence charge to which he pleaded guilty. It is reported that they had divorced though they were together at the time of his fatal accident and she signed orders to remove him form life support.
In the last 10 years, the only way Sue and Willie Coleman kept up with their estranged son's life was through headlines and deny they stole from him. Now they want details of his death under questionable circumstances.
"We would've loved to have been there by his side at the hospital, to let him know we love him before he passed away," Sue Coleman, 67, told PEOPLE. "This is a shock to us. We loved Gary very much. We're going to miss him."
The Insider is holding a poll asking if his estranged adoptive parents should be allowed to attend his funeral.
But Gary's TV brother and lifelong freind Todd Bridges said on ET that Gary's adoptive parents made him work when he was trhowing up from kidney dieases and claims to have written proof of Gary's wishes not to have them involved in anything to do withend of life wishes.