LOS ANGELES — Cory Monteith appeared a few months ago as if he was truly looking forward to the future, having finally put behind him the demons of substance abuse that had plagued him since he was a youth.
"Sending out my love to everyone," the Glee star said in a late April tweet to fans following a monthlong stint in rehab. "Thank you for the continued support. It means the world to me." The tweet ended with a smiley face.
He was pictured in magazines that month smiling and vacationing with longtime girlfriend and Glee co-star Lea Michele, who had proclaimed her steadfast support for Monteith through his struggles. And he was planning to return to Glee, the television show that had made him a heartthrob for fans known as "Gleeks."
Monteith's apparent happiness and turnaround made the news of his death even more shocking to co-stars and fans. The body of the 31-year-old actor was discovered Saturday shortly after noon in a room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, after he failed to check out as scheduled.
Police noted there seemed to be no evidence of foul play and said an autopsy was planned for today to determine the cause of death.
Monteith had been staying at the hotel since July 6, and hotel security records indicated he had returned to his room in the early-morning hours of Saturday and was believed to have been alone at the time of his death.
"OMG!! My Cory …," tweeted Iqbal Theba, who plays Principal Figgins on the Fox series, which will be entering its fifth season this fall. Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Bieste, tweeted, "I have no words! My heart is broken. Cory was not only a hell of a friend he was one amazing (man) that I will hold close to my heart forever."
How Monteith's death will affect the series, an overnight sensation since 2009 that revolves around graduates and present members of a high-school choir filled with an odd collection of characters whose love of performing brings them both pleasure and pain, remained uncertain Sunday. Officials at 20th Century Fox Television and the Fox network had not had any discussion about how the sudden death would affect the show, a source told the Los Angeles Times.
Monteith had not appeared in the final episodes of the fourth season last spring because of his rehab stint. He was one of the key attractions of Glee, playing Finn Hudson, a somewhat-clueless, but kind-hearted jock who had a love for singing — and for exuberant singing star Rachel Berry (Michele).
At the height in the second season, the series was averaging more than 10 million viewers a week. But by its third season, Glee couldn't hit the high notes quite like it used to. The latest season averaged 8.7 million viewers on Thursday nights.