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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Glee loses 'exceptional talent'

Monteith found dead in Vancouver hotel room of unknown cause

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VANCOUVER -- Richard Monteith struggled to hold back his sobs Sunday as he laid down a bouquet of white flowers outside the Vancouver hotel where his cousin and Glee actor Cory Monteith died the previous day.

Squatting with his head in his hands, Richard's shoulders shook as he wiped away his tears before he tucked a card into his bouquet. His flowers sat next to another bouquet and a stuffed animal -- tributes to the Canadian actor who died Saturday.

Richard said little, only mentioning he and Monteith were "decently close," and the two had last seen each other in Vancouver in April.

Monteith, who played the role of football player and singer Finn Hudson on the popular television series Glee, was found dead in his room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on Saturday afternoon.

Police said the cause of death still must be determined, but investigators do not believe foul play was involved.

Tributes from celebrities and fans of Glee poured in on Sunday as those who admire Monteith learned of his sudden death.

Outside the downtown Vancouver hotel, 16-year-old Helen Slater placed a stuffed moose as well as a note for Monteith.

Slater, who is visiting Vancouver from England, said she was shocked to hear the news of Monteith's death. She called him "a complete goofball" and a "positive influence," and decided a stuffed moose was a fitting tribute because Monteith was Canadian, and had been seen before in photos wearing moose antlers.

"The note says how he was a part of Glee, and how that's kind of changed my life," Slater said, tearing up. "Nothing's going to be the same anymore. It just put me (through) some really tough times and helped me through depression a lot."

Chanthi Vijayapala, who lives in Burnaby, B.C., said she used to follow the TV show "religiously," but stopped after the first few seasons. However, the 19-year-old said her heart sank when she heard the news.

"As a person, (Monteith) was just so genuine and authentic, he was the kindest person ever," she said. "Even when I started falling out of Glee, I still followed him as a person and actor. He just seemed so awesome."

Gerry Susca from Brampton, Ont., expects the popular show will have a tough time adjusting without Monteith. "I don't know how they're going to put this into the show," he said. "I think they should do something like...maybe a memorial or something."

Fellow celebrities and Glee cast members took to Twitter to express their condolences.

Dot-Marie Jones, who plays coach Shannon Beiste, wrote, "I am blessed to have worked with him and love him so much. My heart is with his family and our whole Glee family. I love you all."

And Lauren Potter, who plays cheerleader Becky Jackson said, "I am totally heartbroken right now. I love Cory so much this hurts my heart. I hope my Glee family is OK right now. I love them all. Cory was always so nice to me. I have so many good memories."

Monteith's co-star and girlfriend Lea Michele, who plays Finn's girlfriend on-screen, issued a brief statement, requesting privacy.

"We ask that everyone kindly respect Lea's privacy during this devastating time," said Michele's representative Molly Kawachi in a written statement.

The executive producers of Glee and Fox also issued a statement on Saturday night, saying, "We are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person. He was a true joy to work with and we will all miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

Acting Vancouver police Chief Doug LePard told reporters on Saturday Monteith's body was found around noon after he failed to check out from his room as scheduled.

LePard said the actor had been with some other people in the room the night before, but video and electronic records show Monteith entered the room by himself Saturday morning.

His death comes several months after he told People magazine he had admitted himself into rehab for substance abuse, but police declined to speculate whether there was any connection.

Monteith, who had been open about having suffered from drug addiction before, and about having received treatment when he was 19, was born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, where his mother still lives.

He recently shot a Canadian film called All the Wrong Reasons, slated to come out later this year with actors Kevin Zegers, Karine Vanasse and Emily Hampshire.

He had minor roles in other films before joining the cast of Glee, which debuted in 2009.

Before becoming an actor, Monteith worked as a Walmart people greeter in Nanaimo, B.C., as well as a taxicab driver, school bus driver, and roofer.

He also played drums for the California-based band Bonnie Dune, and was an avid supporter of the Project Limelight Society, a Vancouver charity that offers a theatre program to at-risk youth.

Just days before his death, Monteith dined with casting director and Project Limelight co-founder Maureen Webb, as well as with Elena Kirschner from a local talent agency in an east Vancouver restaurant, according to tweets posted by the three parties.

An autopsy was expected to be done today.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 15, 2013 D2

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