Cory Monteith, the Canadian-born star of the hit TV show Glee has been found dead in his Vancouver hotel room.
Vancouver police confirmed Monteith, who was born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, was discovered by staff of the posh Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel when he failed to check out of his 21st-floor room on schedule Saturday.
Acting Chief Doug LePard told a late-night news conference that police were summoned and paramedics advised that Monteith, 31, was deceased. He appeared to have been dead for several hours, LePard told reporters.
LePard passed on condolences to Monteith's family, friends, castmates and "millions of fans.
"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," said LePard.
Police decided on the unusual late-night announcement, an hour after notifying his family, to try and quell any speculation about his death, he said.
It may have been too late. The gossip site The Inquisitr reported Twitter was saying Monteith had died of a drug overdose.
"cory monteith overdosed and thats what u missed on glee" pic.twitter.com/XzFv9gWqSE
— no name (@wh0ranhuggs) July 14, 2013
The unconfirmed rumour was repeated in other media, even though the police and coroner have not confirmed that.
But for the most part, Twitter surged with sympathy and sadness for the loss of a young talent.
And God shall wipe away all tears from his eyes; no more crying, neither any more pain. @CoryMonteith Sweet dreams, my angel, I love You ♥
— LeaMicheleFans (@LeaGleeFans) July 14, 2013
According to a biographical timeline on People.com, Monteith was raised by his mother after his parents split up when he was seven. He dropped out of school and knocked around different jobs in B.C. before drifting into acting in the late 1990s. He snagged guest parts on shows such as Stargate: Atlantis and Smallville before landing his star-making role as Finn Hudson on the musical comedy-drama Glee.
Monteith had reportedly battled drug addiction in his teens and CTV News and other media reported in April that he had a recent stint in a drug rehab centre after a lapse supposedly brought on by the pressures of celebrity.
"He drinks hard and then he can't say no to other things," one source told CTV News back in April. "The house party scene in Los Angeles is dangerous for him. He thought he could dive in and then drop it but he got hooked on stuff again."
LePard said Monteith checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim on July 6 and was due to leave Saturday.
"There were others with Mr. Monteith in his room earlier last night, but video and fob key entries show him returning to his room by himself in the early morning hours and we believe he was alone when he died," LePard said.
"When he missed his check-out time, staff went to the room at noon and found his body."
LePard said given the "considerable interest" in the case, detectives have been assigned to examine the scene "to ensure to the extent possible that there are no unanswered questions." Investigators have obtained hotel video and room-access records, and hotel staff are co-operating, he added.
It's not clear why Monteith was in Vancouver, though LePard said he was a frequent visitor to B.C., given he grew up there. Police have spoken to some of those who were with him, he said.
Chief Coroner Lisa LaPointe told the news conference Monteith's body was discovered around noon and "cause of death was not apparent on initial examination." Both she and LePard said there were no indications of foul play.
"Our hearts go out to family and friends who are mourning the death of this young man," LaPointe said.