In the days leading up to Cory Monteith’s death, the Glee actor was looking fit and fresh, according to an industry friend.
Maureen Webb, who was responsible for the initial handshakes that led to the then 19-year-old untrained actor being eventually cast in Glee, was among a select group who could claim to have spent time with him before his fatal substance abuse binge in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Webb met with Monteith, who was on hiatus from Glee, having just hiked along the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island, and Monteith’s manager Elena Kirschner for lunch on July 11, during which they reminisced about old times.
Webb also discussed with Monteith her sister’s charity Project Limelight Society, a free performing arts program for poverty-stricken children living in Vancouver’s eastside.
Taking a tour of the society’s theatre, a year on since he visited with Richard Branson, she recalled laughing with Monteith about the photos of him lining the theatre’s hallway.
It was the first time he had seen photos of himself signing autographs for the adoring kids at Project Limelight.
“He was very charismatic, very charming,” Webb told The Hollywood Reporter. She recalled Monteith promising, “we’ll get you that airconditioning” for the society’s theatre.
The day before he died, he retweeted Kirschner’s post thanking Webb and him for a “great meal with good friends” at the East of Main cafe, accompanied by a photo of the star silhouette against a window that looks onto East Georgia Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown district.
That night he reportedly went bar-hopping on Vancouver’s Granville Street before returning back to his hotel room on the 21st floor of the nearby Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.
From there little is known except that he appeared to have tweeted at 6.24am, “what the crap is a Sharknado”, quickly followed by “oh. IT’S A SHARK TORNADO”, in the wake of the Twitter buzz that occurred around the release of the mockbuster movie being screened on television that night.
He was found dead in his room around noon, with local police ruling out anyone being with him at the time.
A coroner later ruled his death was an accidental overdose due to “a mixed-drug toxicity involving heroin and alcohol”. Despite local police issuing warnings about a spike in the number of local heroin deaths being due to a potent grade of fentanyl being added to the addictive drug, the coroner said fentanyl was not detected in Monteith.
Vancouver remains notorious for being an international port entry for drug smugglers, especially those bringing in heroin from South-East Asia, according to local reports.
Monteith’s girlfriend Lea Michele, who also played his onscreen love interest in Glee, has been mourning the loss in private, with representatives issuing a statement thanking fans for the support.
what the crap is Sharknado— Cory Monteith (@CoryMonteith) July 12, 2013
But that hasn’t stopped magazines from trying to get the inside scoop on how Michele reacted, with US Weekly leading the stampede.
It has published several stories quoting an “inside source”, claiming that she had no idea about his drug relapse, that they had been planning on moving in together, and when she heard the news she “completely lost her mind. She went crazy, screaming and crying”.
The endless attempts to access Michele, has since prompted the actress’ spokesperson to reissue her earlier statement today, begging for privacy while she mourns.
“Everyone wants a piece of someone, especially when they’re that young,” Webb told The Hollywood Reporterover her disdain for the media scrutiny regarding Monteith’s death.
Webb recalled her own shock at receiving news of his death, but mostly of the grief from the children at Project Limelight, saying “they’re just very sad” because even though some never met him they thought he was cool.
Monteith’s family and his friends from Glee have since set up a foundation to support Project Limelight, Branson’s Virgin Unite, in which Monteith was a global ambassador, and Chrysalis, in his memory.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.