14 July 2013
Last updated at 07:54 ET
Cory Monteith grew up in Canada, beginning his professional acting career at the age of 18. Following guest appearances in Smallville and Flash Gordon, and a recurring role in the 2007 sci-fi drama series Kyle XY, he hit the big time as Finn Hudson in the musical comedy Glee in 2009.
Glee gained a huge cult following on its launch which included lavish musical performances and celebrity guest appearances. The opening season earned 19 Emmy nominations picking up awards for Jane Lynch, guest-star Neil Patrick Harris and Ryan Murphy's direction of the pilot episode.
Monteith, with his imposing physical presence, was the perfect fit to play Finn Hudson - the high school's star American football player, who goes against peer pressure to join the glee club.
Glee continued to win awards during its second and third series, including a Golden Globe for best TV series in 2010 and best TV comedy at the People's Choice Award in 2011. Co-stars Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer also earned individual awards.
During the course of the series, Monteith began a relationship with Lea Michele, who played his on-screen girlfriend Rachel. Reports suggest the pair were preparing to marry in the coming weeks.
Monteith spoke openly about his issues with addiction, acknowledging he had had a serious drug problem during his teenage years. He was first treated for substance abuse at the age of 19 and most recently entered rehab in April this year. Michele vowed to stand by him.
Monteith briefly dated singer Taylor Swift in 2010. "Speechless. And for the worst reason," she said upon hearing the news.
"You will be loved. Always," tweeted singer and former co-star Kristin Chenoweth. Monteith was expected to return for Glee's fifth series, due to be broadcast in the US later this year, despite his character having graduated from high school at the end of series three.