Gary Coleman‘s estranged parents, Sue and Willie Coleman, are going to court in the fight over the late actor’s body, funeral and will, RadarOnline.com has learned.
In a bizarre and cagey statement just released, the Illinois couple said “they’ve heard the rumors” about their son’s death and announced their intention to file probate.
The legal bid has put a serious question mark on Coleman’s funeral — currently scheduled for Saturday in Utah.
The Colemans want custody of their son’s remains for burial in his native Zion, Illinois.
“The Colemans don’t want to fight with anyone,” their attorney Frederick A. Jackman told RadarOnline.com.
“They just want to bring their son home.”
Jackman said Sue and Willie Coleman are the actor’s “surviving family”.
It’s understood the Colemans will argue in court they are the legal custodians of his body because he was divorced from his wife, Shannon Price, in 2008.
The pint-sized actor sued his parents in 1989 for allegedly stealing his multimillion-dollar fortune — a claim they have long denied.
Coleman suffered a brain hemorrhage after a fall last Wednesday at the Utah home he still shared with Price.
His 24-year-old ex-wife switched off his life support, because she didn’t want Coleman “to be like Muhammad Ali or Terri Schiavo.”
“They’re (Sue and Willie Coleman) hoping that by applying for Formal Probate, they can get through this process the right way,” Jackman told RadarOnline.com.
“Of course they’ve heard the rumors, and quite frankly, I don’t understand why so many people who knew Gary are being so secretive.
“The status of the divorce, whether or not anyone has a will, these are all issues that should be brought to the family’s attention immediately.
“Formal Probate is the way we make sure it all gets handled properly.”
Probate is the legal process for making sure that the property of a deceased person is collected and preserved; the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid; and the remaining property is distributed to the beneficiaries designated in the decedent’s last will or, if the decedent died without a valid will, to the decedent’s lawful heirs.
In further mystery surrounding Coleman’s death, his Diff’rent Strokes co-star Todd Bridges has come out with the surprise announcement that he is in possession of a document purporting to contain the final wishes of Coleman.
“[A friend of mine and I] have paperwork, and we’ll bring it out soon, that will show what his wishes were and what he wanted,” Bridges told Entertainment Tonight Thursday.
“There’s a big fight going on with his parents and some other people involved, and after we bring this paperwork out, everybody’s going to shut up.”
“Gary had certain wishes [to exclude his parents]. I’m not going to go against a dying man’s wishes,” Bridges continued.
“There’s a reason why he didn’t speak to them for 23 years.”
In her first interview since the death, Coleman’s ex-wife — who he divorced in 2008 — denied pushing him down the stairs.
“People are so cruel, they don’t even know,” Price said.
“I was upstairs, he was downstairs, how am I going to push him?
“That affected me more than anything, the scrutiny that people come up with… they are just heartless.’