updated 05/29/2011 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/31/2011 AT 8:30 AM ET
Although Jeff Conaway, who died on Friday at the age of 60, often spoke of his longtime battle with drug and alcohol addiction, he “was a terribly complex case with chronic pain, opiate addiction and severe childhood trauma,” says Dr. Drew Pinsky, who had worked with the actor over the past few years.
Conaway’s family has waived their HIPAA privacy rights, to allow Dr. Pinsky to talk to PEOPLE about Conaway’s medical history.
“One of the deeply moving aspects of Jeff’s case was the profound trauma he suffered during childhood,” says Pinsky. “He described these events on [Celebrity Rehab], but viewers somehow did not really understand the profound, painful grinding quality of what he lived through.”