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Cory Monteith died of heroin and alcohol overdose: B.C. coroner

Rebecca Brown, 3, places flowers on a memorial to deceased actor Cory Monteith outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver on July 16, 2013.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Cory Monteith, the Canadian actor who rose to fame with his portrayal of quarterback-turned-crooner Finn Hudson on the hit television show Glee, died of a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol.

The B.C. Coroners Service released results of Mr. Monteith's autopsy Tuesday. It found the 31-year-old's cause of death was "a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol."

"It should be noted that at this point there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith's death was anything other than a most-tragic accident," a statement issued by the Coroners Service said. The service will continue its investigation and release a final report once the investigation is concluded.

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Mr. Monteith's family has been made aware of the circumstances surrounding the death, the coroner said.

Mr. Monteith's substance-abuse problems were well documented. He had previously spoken of his drug and alcohol use as a teenager and sought help for substance addiction earlier this year.

Police and the coroner are still piecing together the events leading up to his death. Police have told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Monteith was in his hotel room with three friends Friday night. The four then headed to a downtown establishment, and Mr. Monteith returned to his hotel room alone around 2:15 a.m., police said.

His body was discovered Saturday around noon after he missed his hotel checkout time. His death was announced by police and the B.C. Coroners Service at a news conference Saturday night.

Mr. Monteith had checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on July 6. Police and the coroner have declined comment on what was discovered in his hotel room, or where his body was found.

Mr. Monteith spoke with the Globe last year, when he was in Vancouver to announce a theatre program for at-risk youth. During the interview, he said he was going down "a very dark path" before he met Maureen Webb, one of the women behind the program, called the Project Limelight Society.

Ms. Webb had dinner with Mr. Monteith the night before he died. She said he had just come back from several days hiking on Vancouver Island, and was bursting with plans to help Project Limelight.

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Ms. Webb is a casting director who helped Mr. Monteith discover acting when he was 19, living in Nanaimo and at loose ends, as he described it in the interview last year.

"She was a friend of a friend who suggested … that I come into her studios and take these acting lessons," Mr. Monteith told the Globe in May, 2012. "It was that initial inspiration that started me on what's going to be a 10-year career so far, culminating in Glee."

With the shock of his death still palpable, the Glee star has been remembered not just as a Canadian who made it big in Hollywood, but as a fine human being who never forgot where he came from, and who was always willing to help a worthy project.

His death has prompted condolences from Ottawa, Hollywood, and around the world.

Following the autopsy results, Industry Minister (and former Minister of Canadian Heritage) James Moore tweeted "One thing I hope emerges from the sad death of Cory Monteith is a discussion of the complex health issues of addiction and recovery."

A small memorial has sprung up outside the hotel where he took his final breath.

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About the Authors
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More

News reporter

Based in Vancouver, Sunny has been with The Globe and Mail since November, 2010. More

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