The 'Glee' Cast's Tragic History: From Cory Monteith to Mark Salling

In 2013, actor Cory Monteith's sudden death of a drug overdose shocked Glee fans, who knew him as his popular jock character Finn Hudson. Now, nearly three years after creator Ryan Murphy's musical dramedy about a high school glee club ended, the show's fans are learning of the death of another of the its stars, Mark Salling, who played reformed bad boy Puck. 

Salling died on Tuesday, at the age of 35. Authorities have ruled the death a suicide after finding his body hanging from a tree in a riverbed near his home in Sunland, California, according to a report from TMZ.

Montieth was 31 when he was found in a Vancouver hotel room. The actor had a history of drug abuse, and the coroner determined that his death was caused by lowered tolerance to drugs after a stint in a treatment facility for substance abuse. (Murphy had urged him to get help, temporarily writing him out of the series' fourth season. He was promised a job when he recovered.) In a 2011 interview with Parade, Monteith discussed his teenage drug use: "Anything and everything, as much as possible. I had a serious problem.”

Glee, which also starred his girlfriend at the time, Lea Michele, was still on when Monteith was found dead, and an episode, "The Quarterback," in which his character also died, was dedicated to the actor. 

1229marksalling Actor Mark Salling was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, December 29. He was found dead near a little league baseball field adjacent to a riverbed in Sunland, California. Jason Redmond/Reuters

Glee was never averse to the tough stuff, so long as there was a song to sing about it. Sadly, Monteith's death even fit: Every loving family has a troubled outlier, someone they need to rally around. (And sometimes, even when trying your best, your efforts to save them fail.) 

glee-club-mourns-Finn-his-memorial-McKinley-High The Glee club mourns Finn and actor Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in 2013. Fox

Salling's personal life was also troubled. He grew up in Texas and studied music in Los Angeles (he played piano, guitar and drums). He landed his role on Glee in 2008 after a few small parts in films like Children of the Corn IV: The Reckoning, and during that time he established his own label, Pipe Dreams Records, releasing an album in 2010. But in January 2013 he was accused of sexual battery (he settled with his accuser out of court) and in December 2015 he was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography; over 50,000 images of child porn were found on his computer and personal drives

On September 30, 2017, the actor pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. He had been scheduled to be sentenced on March 7 and was facing four to seven years behind bars. The California prison system has come under fire recently for a shockingly high rate of deaths for child molesters (at the hands of other prisoners), and it's possible that Salling was fearful of doing time.

But there's more bad news for former Glee stars. Naya Rivera—who played cheerleader Santana Lopez—had a recent brush with the law. The 31-year-old was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after an alleged physical altercation with her husband, Ryan Dorsey. According to a 911 call placed by Dorsey, Rivera was reportedly "drinking" and "out of control." The couple filed for divorce in December, and this month the battery charge was dismissed at Dorsey's request.

GettyImages-458176334 Naya Rivera, left, and Ryan Dorsey at the UNICEF Dia de los Muertos Black & White Masquerade Ball in 2014. Recently, Rivera was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after an alleged physical altercation with her husband, Dorsey. Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

Salling and Rivera briefly dated; the relationship was never official but it was rumored to be rocky. In 2010, tabloids reported that Rivera egged and keyed Salling's car. (Salling dismissed the claims as "silly.")

Looking back at Glee, as hopeful and often joyful as any show on TV, you have to wonder if anyone anticipated so much tragedy ahead. 

GettyImages-92888395 From left, 'Glee' actors Mark Salling, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Teri Hatcher, Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale at Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Grove on November 7, 2009. Jordan Strauss/Getty Images

Glee creator Ryan Murphy did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

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