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Former Glee star Mark Salling has passed away from an apparent suicide. He was 35.
A law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly says Salling was found hanging near his home in the Tujunga neighbourhood of Los Angeles. The official says the actor’s death is being investigated as a suicide, reported The Associated Press.
Earlier reports, including the initial news published by TMZ, stated that Salling’s body was found at the Los Angeles River near his home in Sunland, Calif.
Salling’s lawyer released a statement on the actor’s death.
“I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning. Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment. He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”
Salling was awaiting sentencing after entering a guilty plea to possession of child pornography in December. He was scheduled to be sentenced on March 7.
The actor reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in October in which he admitted he possessed images of prepubescent children. The agreement stated a search warrant found more than 50,000 images of child porn on Salling’s computer and a thumb drive.
The content depicted children as young as three years old being abused, according to court documents.
Prosecutors and Salling had agreed to ask a judge for a sentence of between four to seven years in prison.
Salling was required to register as a sex offender, pay $50,000 restitution to each victim who has requested it and abide by residency restrictions, where he must stay 30 metres away from schoolyards, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds and video arcades.
Salling was supposed to enter a sex offender treatment program and wouldn’t be allowed to have any communication with anyone under the age of 18 unless in the presence of a parent or legal guardian. He faced 20 years of supervised release.
Salling was arrested in December 2015 after investigators said the laptop, a hard drive and USB flash drive seized from his residence contained thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography. Salling’s former girlfriend called the police, according to the court documents.
A TMZ report in October alleged Salling had attempted suicide by slitting both his wrists just before striking his plea deal.
The actor was best known for playing bad boy Noah (Puck) Puckerman on the Fox musical dramedy Glee.