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Attorney says Gary Coleman's friend and former manager will bow out of fight over estate

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gary Coleman's friend and former manager will give up the fight to be appointed the special administrator of his estate, his attorney said Monday.

A hearing on Coleman's estate was scheduled later in the day in Provo.

Attorney Kent Alderman told The Associated Press that Dion Mial will no longer seek to be appointed special administrator of Coleman's estate because a more recent will has surfaced.

"We don't have any reason to dispute it, so we would leave it to the court to appoint someone else to undertake that responsibility," Alderman said. "Our goal has always been to try to fulfill Gary's wishes as we knew them."

Mial was named in Coleman's 1999 will and was informally appointed by a state court as the estate's special administrator. But that appointment was challenged by Coleman's ex-wife, Shannon Price.

She is named in a 2007 handwritten note by Coleman that's intended to amend any earlier wills and name Price as the sole heir. Monday's hearing is intended to settle that dispute.

On Friday, an attorney for Coleman's former girlfriend Anna Gray filed documents with the court saying she was named in a 2005 will.

Price and Gray each say they should be responsible for administering the estate of the "Diff'rent Strokes" star and deciding what happens to his remains. Coleman stated in both wills that he wanted to be cremated.

Price's attorneys contend she is the rightful heir to Coleman's estate because even though the two divorced in 2008, she was still his common law wife. Court documents say the couple continued to live together, shared bank accounts and presented themselves as husband and wife.

It wasn't publicly known the two had divorced until after Coleman died on May 28 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Price referred to Coleman as her husband when she called 911 on May 26, saying Coleman had fallen and was bleeding severely from the back of his head.

Coleman was still conscious when he was taken to a hospital in Provo but slipped into unconsciousness the next day and was placed on life support. It was Price — named in an advanced health care directive in 2006 before they had married — who ordered Coleman to be taken off of life support.

A court filing by Gray's attorney and one-time Coleman defense attorney Randy Kester said Gray has been informed that Price has been removing personal property from Coleman's home.

On June 10, the Fourth District Court ordered that no more of Coleman's property be removed or sold. The court also prohibited anyone from selling or distributing photographs of Coleman prior to or after his death.

Price appeared in a picture with Coleman on his death bed on the cover of a tabloid on June 8.

Coleman starred for eight seasons on the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," starting in 1978. The 10-year-old's "Whachu talkin' 'bout?" became a catch phrase in the show about two African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man.