Although Shannon Price was legally divorced from Gary Coleman at the time of his death, she had the authority to tell doctors to take him off of life support.
In a statement late Thursday, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center — where Coleman died last Friday — explains: "Mr. Coleman had completed an Advanced Health Care Directive that granted Shannon Price permission to make medical decisions on his behalf if he was unable to do so."
On Thursday, Coleman's attorney Randy Kester confirmed to UsMagazine.com that Coleman, 42, and Price, 24, have been divorced since August 2008 — calling into question whether she had the right to "pull the plug."
But, the hospital's statement reads: "An Advanced Health Care Directive remains in effect regardless of a patient’s marital status, unless modified by the patient…we received permission to confirm that the document was in effect at the time of Mr. Coleman's death."
The couple, who wed in 2007, had an "on-again, off-again" relationship, Kester admitted. "There were periods of time where she resided in the home with Gary, and there were periods of time where she didn't."
But the revelation of Coleman's marital status also throws the matter of his estate into question. Kester added that the star's estranged parents may ask the court to determine who Coleman's rightful heirs are.
Another complication: "No one's come forward with what appears to be a valid will," Kester said.
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