Glee star Cory Monteith is being mourned and remembered by many in the gay community, both as a talented performer and as an ally and supporter of LGBT equality.
The 31-year-old Canadian actor was found dead in his room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, in Vancouver on Saturday.
Police said that foul play was not suspected. His cause of death remains unknown. However, there has been speculation that it could have been drug related.
The star had a history of battling with addiction and in April admitted himself into rehab.
Monteith had played the role of Finn Hudson on the high school musical television series Glee since 2009. The show has been praised for its positive depiction of gay issues and characters and had a strong LGBT following.
His character, Finn, initially showed animosity towards openly gay fellow student Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), bullying him and using an anti-gay slur in an argument. Eventually, the quarterback apologised and stood up for Kurt against bullies. As the show progressed, Finn and Kurt became close friends and brothers when their parents married.
Off screen, the actor worked with a number of LGBT groups. He recorded public service announcement videos for organisations such as Straight But Not Narrow and The Bully Project, attended events for The Trevor Project and co-hosted the 23rd annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards in New York City in 2102. Monteith also received an award in 2012 from Do Something for his advocacy work.
On Sunday, GLAAD expressed its sadness at Monteith’s death.
“We mourn the loss of our friend Cory Monteith, whose support of LGBT youth and his work to end bullying served as an inspiration to countless young people,” said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz.
“Losing such a strong ally at a young age is heartbreaking, but we are thankful for the many lives he touched through his work and advocacy. Our hearts go out to his family both at home and on the set of Glee.”
Monteith’s girlfriend and Glee co-star Lea Michele was said to be “devastated beyond belief” following the young man’s death.
“We ask that everyone kindly respect Lea’s privacy during this devastating time,” commented a spokesperson for the actress.
Watch Monteith’s 2011 video message for the Straight But Not Narrow campaign below.