Dana Plato's Suicidal Son Tyler Lambert Was in 'Pure Hell'
By PopEater Staff Posted May 20th 2010 04:00PM
'Diff'rent Strokes' star Dana Plato's suicide left her son in a world of "pure hell," which ended in his tragic May 6 gunshot suicide, his grandmother tells PEOPLE.
Joni Richardson said her 25-year-old grandson (pictured above in 1999) struggled with drugs and alcohol for 10 years, desperately attempting to "drown out the pain." His mother took her life with prescription pills when he was just 14.
While there has been speculation Lambert was on drugs at the time of his death, the Tulsa, Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told PopEater toxicology tests could take two to three months.
"At 15, he started to get wild," Richardson said, adding that Lambert had problems with drugs and alcohol, resulting in several rehab stints. "These past 10 years have been pure hell."
Richardson says Lambert left a suicide note reading: "The only moments of happiness for me are when I'm real high and don't think about the past or I'm real drunk and not able to."
With the initial news of Lambert's death, Richardson told the National Enquirer, "Tyler wanted to be with his mother. His father Lanny (Lambert, Plato's ex-husband) is devastated."
Lambert's difficulty dealing with his mother's demise -- he took his life two days before the 11-year anniversary of her death -- led to a series of tattoos. "He had his mother's name on his hand, on his arm and right across his finger," Richardson says. "He was putting her ashes in with the ink. [That way] he could feel that he had part of her with him."
Dana Plato committed suicide in Moore, Oklahoma, with prescription pills on May 8, 1999. She was 36 years old. Plato had harbored a troubled past, including a 1991 arrest for robbing a video store in Las Vegas, earning her five years' probation. She received additional probation just a year later, for forging Valium prescriptions.
In 2006, a 21-year-old Lambert filed a $20,000 wrongful death lawsuit against Plato's former fiance, claiming he contributed to Plato's death by "not giving immediate medical assistance or contacting medical personnel," according to court documents.
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Teresa Barbieri, Getty Images
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