31-year-old Glee star Cory Monteith passed away yesterday of a reported drug overdose. The TV star was found in his hotel room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia. An upcoming autopsy is set to take place in order to determine the exact cause of death.
Best known for playing Finn Hudson on the hit TV show Glee, the Canadian actor-musician began battling substance abuse at a young age. He thought of his fame as both a gift and a curse — grateful for his success, but feeling enabled at the same time. His last visit to a rehab center was as recent as this past March, and he received similar care when he was just 19.
Monteith had been dating Glee co-star Lea Michele, who has asked for privacy following the actor’s passing. He will be missed by millions of fans the world over, including his fellow cast mates, who have called him an “exceptional performer and human being.”
Prior to making it big on Glee, which is set to premier in its fifth season this September, Monteith referred to himself as a “working class actor” who relied on background and one-line parts to make a living. He was cast on the hit show in 2009 after sending in an audition tape of himself drumming on tupperware, which inevitably earned him a spot on the show. Here’s a clip of the actor reenacting his audition tape on Ellen:
But the man behind the song and dance lived a life far different from his all-American, football-playing Glee character. After getting into drugs at the tender age of 13 and dropping out of high school just three years later, Monteith began working at Walmart and driving a taxi cab to sustain himself. “For me it wasn’t so much about the substances per se, it was more about not fitting in… I hadn’t found myself at all,” he said in a 2011 interview.
And while the success of Glee took away some of the strain of feeling lost during his early years, he was still faced with having to find work beyond Glee, as well as dealing with a rocky family life. Monteith had not spoken to his father in several years, which couldn’t be overshadowed by the outpouring of fan support from loyal “gleeks.”
Monteith’s passing is yet another reminder of how even those who seem to have it all together may be struggling on the inside. “If I can, through my experience, shed light on the way out of a difficult situation, that I know many kids are experiencing, just like I did when I was a teenager,” he said, “that’s, that’s huge.”