Gary Wayne Coleman (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010) was an American actor, best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986). He was described in the 1980s as "one of television's most promising stars". After a successful childhood acting career, Coleman struggled financially later in life. In 1989, he successfully sued his parents and business adviser over misappropriation of his assets, only to declare bankruptcy a decade later. On May 28, 2010, Coleman died of an epidural hematoma at age 42.
Very few details of Coleman's medical history have been made public. His short stature (4 feet, 8 inches or 142 centimeters) stemmed from congenital kidney disease and its treatment. He underwent at least two unsuccessful kidney transplants early in his life and required frequent dialysis, which he preferred not to discuss. In 2009, Coleman underwent heart surgery, details of which were never made public, but he is known to have developed pneumonia postoperatively. In January 2010, Coleman was hospitalized after a seizure in Los Angeles, and in February he suffered another seizure on the set of The Insider television program.
On May 26, 2010, Coleman was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, in critical condition after falling down the stairs at his home in Santaquin and hitting his head, possibly after another seizure, and suffering an epidural hematoma. According to a hospital spokesman, Coleman was conscious and lucid the next morning, but his condition subsequently worsened. By mid-afternoon on May 27, he was unconscious and on life support. He died at 12:05 pm MDT (18:05 UTC) on May 28, at the age of 42.
The casts of the Off Broadway production of Avenue Q in New York City and the Avenue Q National Tour in Dallas dedicated their May 28 performances to his memory, and the actors playing the part of Coleman paid tribute to him from the stage at the performances' conclusions. (The Coleman character remained in the show after modifications were made to relevant dialogue.)