‘Glee’ remembers Cory Monteith with tears, laughs and songs

Video: Glee pays tribute to Cory Monteith

This article contains spoilers.

TORONTO – “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares? One moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived.”

Those words, from Chris Colfer’s character Kurt Hummel, came in the early moments of Thursday’s episode of Glee — an episode honouring the memory of Canadian actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson.

While Finn’s cause of death was not specified, viewers are well aware of the real-life circumstances of Monteith’s death.

The Alberta-born, B.C.-raised actor died July 13 in his suite at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver. The coroner ruled the 31-year-old succumbed to a toxic mix of heroin and champagne.

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The highly-anticipated episode opened with cast members, dressed in black, singing “Seasons” from the musical RENT and ended with a heart-breaking scene showing glee club teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) sobbing into Finn’s letterman jacket.

In between, there were emotional moments, funny moments and — of course — plenty of singing. (Net proceeds from sales of the songs will be donated to Project Limelight, the Vancouver arts organization for kids that Monteith supported.)


Some of the recollections of Finn during the episode — entitled The Quarterback and set three weeks after his funeral — echoed what has been said about the man who played him.

“The kid didn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body,” recalled Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley).

“He was such a good guy,” said the usually cold-hearted Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). “It’s just so pointless. All the potential.”

Said Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera): “He was a much better person than I am.”

WATCH: Did “Glee” mishandle the Cory Monteith tribute episode? 

In an interview with People posted Thursday, Monteith’s estranged father Joe said his son nearly died from a bad drug reaction when he was 19. “He got a shot to his heart to bring him back,” he recalled. “He was told at that time to use no drugs of any kind.”

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Monteith’s real-life girlfriend and Glee co-star Lea Michele didn’t appear in the episode until the final 20 minutes.

“I loved Finn and he loved me,” said Michele, as Rachel Berry. “And he loved all of you guys. I know he did.”

She added: “I can still see his face and I can hear his voice so clearly.”

In a recent interview, Michele said the tribute to Monteith was “therapeutic” and “perfect.”

Near the end of the episode, Rachel and Mr. Schuester placed a plaque on the wall with a picture of Finn and one of his quotes inscribed. “The show must go on,” it read. “All over the place… or something.”

Earlier, Schuester said: “To be honest, I don’t even know how we’re supposed to move forward.”

The characters will have time to figure that out while the series takes a break to accommodate the baseball playoffs on the U.S. network.

For fans of Glee and the people who knew Monteith, one thing remains very real.

“He’s dead,” said Coach Beiste (Dot Jones), “and all we’ve got left is his voice in our head.”