Actor Cory Monteith, a heartthrob known for the US musical-comedy television series "Glee," has been found dead in his Vancouver hotel room, police said. Monteith had talked about his problems with substance abuse.
Answering an emergency call, police and paramedics found Monteith's body several hours after he had died. Investigators did not immediately identify a cause of death. In response to a question about whether Monteith - 31 and self-described on Twitter as "tall, awkward, canadian, actor, drummer, person" - died of a drug overdose, Vancouver Police Department acting chief Doug LePard said he would "not discuss anything that we might have found in the room at this time".
"We only notified family members about an hour ago, so we haven't even been able to have those conversations with them," LePard said. "As was the case in countless homes, I watched Glee regularly with my daughters, and I know there will be shock and sadness in many households with the news of his tragic death," he added.
Monteith underwent treatment for an unspecified substance addiction earlier this year. The actor, who grew up in the western province of British Columbia, told Parade magazine in 2011 about what he called a serious drug problem during his teenage years, saying that he had first received treatment at 19. In the interview, he called himself lucky to be alive after his struggles with substance abuse.
"The death of a young person is a tragedy for their family, friends and community," British Columbia Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said. "A sudden death is more shocking, and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are mourning the loss of this young man."
Monteith's fictional character, Finn Hudson, remained a "Glee" regular even after graduating the Lima, Ohio, high school where the series is set. The character put his popularity as an American football player on the line to sing with the school club and also carried on a lengthy stop-and-start romance with the star chanteuse, Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele. The actors followed in the footsteps of their fictional counterparts by dating in real life.
Born in the province of Alberta, Monteith moved to Vancouver Island as a child. Before turning to acting, he held a variety of jobs including Wal-Mart greeter, school bus driver, roofer and cab driver.
Monteith had TV parts on "Kaya," "Kyle XY" and "Smallville." Film credits included "Final Destination 3," ''The Invisible," ''Deck the Halls" and "Whisper."
On the "Glee" Twitter page, producers wrote: "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."
Former "Glee" actress Kristin Chenoweth wrote on Twitter: "You will be loved. Always."
Dot-Marie Jones, who plays the American football coach on "Glee," called Monteith a "hell of a friend" and "amazing" on Twitter and wrote: "I have no words! My heart is broken."
Zooey Deschanel, perhaps best known for her role as the perky, quirky title character of the film "500 Days of Summer," but also the star of the Fox series "New Girl," wrote, "What an absolutely tragic loss of a very talented young man."
LePard said the coroner's office would carry out an autopsy on Monday.
mkg/pfd (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)