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In photos: Cory Monteith on the set of Glee

Cory Monteith began his career in a number of small roles. But Glee, a show set in the small town of Lima, Ohio, was Monteith’s breakthrough.

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Glee became an instant hit when it debuted in 2009 and made celebrities of Cory Monteith and the rest of the relatively unknown cast over the past four seasons.

Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

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Monteith served as the show’s resident hunk with a heart of gold. He played Finn Hudson, a football quarterback with two left feet who found more camaraderie in the choir room than on the football field.

Matthias Clamer/FOX

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He delivered renditions of such classics as U2’s One and R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion.

Adam Rose/FOX

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After his character graduated high school, Hudson sought out to find himself before settling on what he wanted to do with his life: become a teacher and mentor.

Carin Baer/FOX

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A big part of the show was his character’s on-again-off-again romance with glee club star Rachel Berry, an aspiring entertainer played by Lea Michele.

Adam Rose/FOX

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Monteith and Michele followed in the footsteps of their fictional counterparts by dating in real life, and were first photographed together as a couple in the spring of 2010. In this 2009 photo, the cast discussed their new show at the Fox Summer Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California.

FRED PROUSER/REUTERS

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Glee became known for its catchy song-and-dance numbers and high-profile guest stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Britney Spears. Here, Dr. Carl (guest star John Stamos) interrupts a performance with Finn and Rachel.

Adam Rose/FOX

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Before becoming an actor, Monteith worked as a Wal-Mart people greeter in Nanaimo, B.C., as well as a taxicab driver, school bus driver, and roofer. He had minor roles in other films before joining the cast of Glee, which debuted in 2009.

Adam Rose/FOX

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The executive producers of Glee and Fox issued a statement on Saturday night, saying, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person. 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.”

Micahel Yarish/FOX

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