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Monteith’s death ruled a ‘tragic accident’

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.


When he left a rehabilitation facility less than three months ago, Cory Monteith – the Victoria-raised actor who rose to fame as quarterback-turned-crooner Finn Hudson on the hit television show Glee – thanked his fans for their support, tweeting that it meant the world to him.

But that support was not enough to help one of Canada's rising stars overcome the substance abuse that drove him to treatment, a fact confirmed by the B.C. Coroners Service on Tuesday when it announced the 31-year-old died from a heroin and alcohol overdose.

"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," Barbara McLintock, the coroner's spokeswoman, said.

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Mr. Monteith's body was discovered in his hotel room on the 21st floor of Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on Saturday after he missed his checkout time. He was 31.

Constable Brian Montague, a Vancouver police spokesman, told reporters the cause of death was consistent with what police investigators had believed. He declined to comment on how police had reached that belief, or whether any drug paraphernalia were found in the room.

Constable Montague said Mr. Monteith is believed to have taken the heroin while he was alone in his room.

The police department said from the outset there did not appear to be any indication of foul play.

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. He told Parade magazine in a 2011 interview that he was "lucky to be alive."

When Mr. Monteith entered the rehabilitation facility this year, his girlfriend, fellow Glee star Lea Michele, said she loved him and was proud he was seeking help.

Ms. Michele issued a statement Tuesday thanking fans for their support and asking for privacy. The statement said she was grieving "this profound loss" alongside Mr. Monteith's family. His mother still lives in Victoria.

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Constable Montague said the department's investigation has concluded, unless new information is received. He said police will not investigate how Mr. Monteith acquired the heroin.

The police spokesman couldn't say how much heroin or alcohol was in Mr. Monteith's system. He referred such questions to the coroner. Ms. McLintock, however, declined to answer. She said a final coroner's report will be released, though she couldn't say when.

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.

Fans, some in tears, gathered Tuesday outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim after hearing about the cause of death.

"I just felt so shocked because he just came out of rehab," said Katie Piper, 18, who brought a bouquet of flowers to the memorial, along with her mother. "I'm not surprised it was drugs, but I am surprised at the type of drug. Heroin's intense."

Lupita Gamez, 17, visiting the shrine for the third time in as many days, said she still considers Mr. Monteith an inspiration.

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"I feel bad because he died, not because of the way he died. I don't judge him," said Ms. Gamez, who is from Mexico and studying in Vancouver.

"It makes me feel sad that some people just want to judge him and say, 'Oh, he's a drug addict,' but they don't really know him. I just remember him like the person that he was – happy."

James Moore, the former minister of Canadian heritage who this week was named Industry Minister, tweeted after the autopsy results were released: "One thing I hope emerges from the sad death of Cory Monteith is a discussion of the complex health issues of addiction and recovery."

The Downtown Eastside children's theatre organization Project Limelight Society sent out a news release on Tuesday, advising that it had been selected by Mr. Monteith's friends and family as one of three charities to receive donations in his memory, along with Richard Branson's Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of the Virgin Group for which Mr. Monteith was an ambassador, and Chrysalis, a California agency helping homeless and low-income people find and retain employment.

Maureen Webb, Project Limelight's co-founder, has told The Globe she had dinner with Mr. Monteith on Thursday. She said he had just come back from several days of hiking on Vancouver Island, and was bursting with plans to help Project Limelight.

Mr. Monteith spoke with The Globe last year when he was in Vancouver for the project. During the interview, he said he was going down "a very dark path" before he met Ms. Webb, and she helped him discover his talent for acting.

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About the Authors
News reporter

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

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


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