Cory Monteith, the 31-year-old Canadian actor who played Finn Hudson on Fox’s hit series Glee for four seasons, was found dead in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver on Saturday (July 13). The Hollywood Reporter noted last night that, according to Vancouver police, Monteith checked in to the hotel on July 6, but missed his noon checkout time on Saturday. Staff discovered his body in his room on the 21st floor later in the day.
Police reportedly stated that Monteith had been with other people on Friday night, but, according to hotel video footage, returned to his hotel room alone in the early morning hours on Saturday. No foul play is suspected, and no cause of death has been given. An autopsy on Monteith’s body is scheduled for Monday.
Monteith is best known for his Screen Actors Guild- and Teen Choice Award-winning role as reluctant jock-turned-singer Finn Hudson on Ryan Murphy’s musical dramedy Glee. In the series’ pilot episode, which premiered in spring 2009, Monteith’s character is duped into joining the William McKinley High School glee club by director Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison).
Monteith and his on-screen girlfriend Lea Michele (“Rachel Berry” on Glee) were eventually revealed to be partnered up in real life, as well. The pair were reportedly still a couple at the time of Monteith’s death.
In a 2011 interview with Parade, Victoria, British Columbia, native Monteith mentioned that he was a high school dropout who, as early as age 16, had struggled with drug use. He revealed that he did a stint in rehab at age 19. “I’m lucky on so many counts,” he told the magazine. “I’m lucky to be alive.”
In the Parade interview, Monteith went on to admit the following: “I stole a significant amount of money from a family member. I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn’t care. It was a cry for help. I was confronted and I said, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ It was the first honorable, truthful thing that had come out of my mouth in years.”
Monteith found himself back in rehab just this past spring, as Glee‘s fourth season was winding down. On March 31, E! Online confirmed that the actor was once again seeking help for substance abuse. He completed his treatment on April 26. “Cory Monteith has voluntarily admitted himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction,” Monteith’s rep stated in late March. “He graciously asks for your respect and privacy as he takes the necessary steps towards recovery.”
On Saturday night, Monteith’s reps stated the following: “We are so saddened to confirm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate. We are in shock and mourning this tragic loss.”
Obviously, it’s too early to tell what direction Glee will go in with the loss of Monteith, whose character Finn had graduated from high school in Season 3, but returned to help Mr. Schuester head up William McKinley’s New Directions glee club last year. In April, Fox renewed the series for a fifth and sixth season.
What we do know is this: Finn Hudson, the football star who had a tough time reconciling the fact that he led a double-life where he also enjoyed singing pop songs with a group of high school underdogs, mirrored the way many of us viewed Glee itself; from its inception, it was never the suavest show on TV. Maybe, at times, it was a bit too saccharine. Or too contrived. Or just too uncool. Perhaps the stunt-casting was a bit too frequent. The songs choices too obvious. The jokes too racy.
Still, in its first four seasons, the one constant was that Glee had heart, something that kept at least a sizable, core group of Gleeks coming back each week. No character personified that over the past four years more than Finn. And that heart beat — and beat loudly and true — because of Cory Monteith.