News of the death of Vancouver actor Cory Monteith touched off an outpouring of public support over the weekend.
The star, who rose to stardom playing the reluctant quarterback-turned-singer Finn Hudson in the hit television series "Glee," was found dead Saturday in a Vancouver hotel room. He was 31.
Acting Vancouver Police Chief Doug LePard confirmed his death Saturday night, telling a hastily called news conference that the cause of death had yet to be determined, but foul play was not suspected. He added that investigators believed Monteith died alone.
The actor checked into the Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel on July 6 and was due to check out Saturday. He was discovered in his 21st floor room by hotel staff after he failed to do so. He had been dead for several hours.
Surveillance footage showed he had been with friends Friday night but returned to his room alone.
The actor's death comes more than three months after he told People magazine he had voluntarily admitted himself into rehab for substance abuse, though police declined to speculate whether there was any connection.
"We only notified family members about an hour ago, and so we haven't been able to have those conversations with them," LePard said, when asked about the possibility Monteith's death was related to substance abuse. "What we can say is that the cause of death wasn't immediately apparent."
Video and electronic records from the hotel indicate Monteith entered his room early Saturday morning, and British Columbia's chief coroner said he`d been dead for several hours by the time he was found.
LePard said police took the unusual step of summoning the media to head off the inevitable speculation the star`s death would generate.
"Obviously, with a celebrity like Mr. Monteith, there's going to be an extraordinary level of interest in a routine sudden death," he said.
"We know there would be a great deal of speculation and probably inaccurate information, so we wanted to provide accurate information as soon as we could."
LePard also added a personal note about the case.
"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 said.
Monteith's publicist, Melissa Kates, issued a brief written statement shortly after the police news conference.
"We are so saddened to confirm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate," wrote Kates, who works for the publicity company Viewpoint, based in L.A.
"We are in shock and mourning this tragic loss."
Monteith, who was born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, was a loud and proud Canucks fan. He and his girlfriend, Lea Michele, were spotted at a playoff game last May.
Monteith joined the cast of "Glee" when the series started in 2009.
His fellow "Glee" cast members took to Twitter shortly after the news broke.
"I am so saddened to hear about Cory. He was such a great guy/Super-kind &warm," wrote Josh Sussman, who plays Jacob on the show. "A tragic loss. My heart goes out to all his friends & family."
Nolan Gerard Funk, an actor from Vancouver who joined the "Glee" cast last year, tweeted: "Thanks for always being kind Cory. You came a long way from hanging on the beaches in Vancouver with the gang pre Glee. Sending you love bud."
And Mark Salling, who plays Puck, wrote simply, "No," in a tweet that later appeared to have been deleted.
In April, Monteith told People magazine that he had voluntarily admitted himself into "a treatment facility for substance addiction."
It wasn't his first time in rehab. He was also treated when he was 19 and had talked openly about his addiction struggles, saying he had a serious problem and took just "anything and everything."
He told Parade magazine in 2011 that he was "lucky to be alive."
B.C.'s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, said further tests would be needed to determine how Monteith died.
"The exact nature of those examinations will depend on investigative findings within the next day or two as information is gathered from medical records and discussions with family take place," she said.
Before becoming an actor, Monteith worked in Nanaimo, B.C., as a Wal-Mart people greeter, taxicab driver, school bus driver, and roofer.
Monteith had minor roles in "Final Destination 3," "Whisper" and "Deck the Halls," and had a recurring role in "Kyle X."
with files from Canadian Press