Remembering Cory Montieth

I remember exactly what I was doing and the reaction I had when I found out Cory Montieth had unexpectedly died.

It was the wee hours of Sunday morning, right before the 2 a.m. mark, and I had just crawled into bed. I was surfing through my movie channels, deciding what to put on as I drift into sleep. Then my phone lit up. It was an US Weekly breaking news alert. “Glee star Cory Montieth dead at 31.” My eyes just peered on that headline for a solid minute before I even opened the link to read the story. I was shocked, to say the least. My heart dropped into my stomach. Tears welded in my eyes as I read the accompanying details.

It’s been two days since the world got the news. And I still can’t believe it. Sometimes I wonder if this is a really, really bad joke. Unfortunately, it is not. I am (or was) a Gleek. I admit that I didn’t watch this past season, but everything prior, I loved. Sad irony was that I was actually listening to older Glee music when I was driving that day. And even repeated Cory’s version of “Jessie’s Girl”, one of my favorites of his.

As new updates roll in since the announcement of his death, my heart breaks more and more. Age 31 is too young to die. Cory was found in his hotel room in Vancouver, Canada around 12:00pm on Saturday, July 13. Hotel personnel went up to his room after he missed his check-out time. He was alone at his time of death. Vancouver officials have said they will not release information on what was found in his room. So by default, we cannot yet conclude that foul play was involved.

It is no secret that Cory had a troubled past with drug use. He has been very open about his childhood troubles and teenage rebels. He cleaned up his act in his mid-20s when he actively pursued acting. But, on March 31st of this year, he courageously checked himself into a rehab facility for substance abuse. Friends close to the star say that he was “very dedicated to staying clean.”

No word on a funeral or memorial yet. I am expecting both to happen later on this week. An autopsy is scheduled for today, and the results will be expedited because of “intense public interest”, so I suspect we will know the cause of death within the next couple of days.

My heart aches for his family, his friends and poor Lea Michele, his co-star and girlfriend for over a year. Fans of the late star have been posting their love and support for Lea and the whole Glee cast on Twitter, making picture collages and tumblr edits.

As of the time of this post, no main Glee cast member have tweeted or released any statements regarding the tragedy, except Mark Salling. In the early evening on Sunday, he changed his Twitter picture to one of him and Cory and tweeted “going through a million memories and emotions today. ill love you always Brother Cory.”

Lea Michele’s representatives released a statement on Sunday asking everyone to please respect her privacy during this devastating time. We all know how forceful media and paparazzi can be, I can only hope that they will respect that request, as well as their distance during the next few weeks.

Not only are people closest to him shocked and saddened, but also members of the media. Every TV reporter and interviewer who has ever interacted with the star has posted their own stories of the late actor. Each of them expressing their fond feelings of Cory and his down-to-earth attitude. He was much loved around the business by being sincere to everyone he met, having a playful banter in every interview and taking multiple pictures with every fan, all with a smile on his face. Kristin Dos Santos, a fantastic TV reporter for E! News, wrote this beautiful letter about her many interactions with Cory. It is a heartbreaking read to know that we lost such a light, but a beautiful remembrance. You can read her letter here.

Famed director Adam Shankman (who also directed many episodes of Glee throughout the years) shared his shock when telling CNN that he was just texting Cory the day before his death. He talked about how happy and healthy Cory seemed and how excited he was to get back to Los Angeles the next day. Pretty much every other celebrity on Twitter (who knew him and not) have tweeted their sorrow over his death, and sending their love and support to his family.

His Glee co-star and on-screen mentor, Matthew Morrison (aka: Mr. Shuester), was set to play a show in New York City on Sunday, just hours after his death was noted around the world. He appeared on stage and addressed Cory’s passing: “We lost a great young man too soon,” he explained, before speaking about what a beautiful person Cory was. “You came out to see a show, I came out to do one, so let’s honor Cory with this performance.” Fans said Morrison was noticeably emotional on stage, while sources close to the star say “Matthew is beside himself over Cory and it was very difficult for him to perform, but he didn’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Fans are also wondering what this will mean for Glee? Sources close to the show say “it’s too soon to tell.” I, personally, suspect they will have his character die as well and maybe fast-forward some time, so that the actors will not have to relive the pain and film any tragic scenes. But, only time will tell. That same source also speculated that filming will be postponed “until it is appropriate to start filming again.”

On behalf of Small Towns and City Lights, I’d like to further express our intense heartbreak over this tragic loss to not only Hollywood, but the world. Cory was a talented man with a lot of life, who was beloved by so many. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, Lea and his cast and all his heartbroken fans. Rest in Peace, Cory Montieth.

For all the latest details emerging from this tragedy, stay tuned to our Twitter feed @STCLblog.