Candles flickered in the late evening twilight and songs, including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” and even Canada’s national anthem, filled the air outside a downtown Vancouver hotel as fans paid tribute to a fallen TV star.
On the eve of the one-week anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death, a crowd packed the pavement in front of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel Friday night, spilling onto the sidewalk across the street, and forcing Community Safety officers to block the road with their patrol cars.
Mr. Monteith was born in Alberta, grew up in B.C., found fame playing Finn Hudson on the hit TV show “Glee,” and died at the age of 31 in his hotel room on July 13 from the combined effects of heroin and alcohol.
Karleigh Walker, an 18-year-old from White Rock, B.C., said she visited the hotel Monday, and seeing the constant flow of fans visiting the site, decided to organize a vigil. She posted signs around the growing memorial of cards, flowers and photos, and spread her message on social media.
“So many people look up to Cory, so many people treasure his life and see him as a huge role model, and I figure that we can all get together and kind of cherish him a little bit,” she said, noting the visit was her third to the memorial.
Mr. Monteith’s body was found in his hotel room around noon local time, after a night on the town with three friends.
He had checked in on July 6 and was due to leave the following Saturday. When he missed his checkout time hotel staff went to his room and found his body.
Police said earlier this week that the actor had died early Saturday morning from the combined effects of heroin and alcohol. They also said there was no evidence of foul play and that their investigation was complete.
Barb McLintock of the BC Coroners Service said her agency’s investigation would continue, focusing on the levels of alcohol and heroin in Monteith’s system and whether he was the victim of a bad batch of heroin.
Laura Shaver, a 35-year-old Vancouver resident, attended Friday’s vigil with other members of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, and said she went there hoping to educate people about overdoses in the city.
“People OD in the Downtown Eastside weekly, but because they’re not a star ... they’re forgotten,” she said.
Ms. Shaver said she believed that most of the people at the vigil were there for a picture or a celebrity pose, not to make things better.
“We just think that this is a way, or a time, that we can also bring the light to all the people, all our brothers and sisters that we’ve lost already from the drug war.”
Steven Pham, a 28-year-old Vancouver resident, said he brought paper and pens, candles and lighters, on what was his 41st visit to the memorial so others could mourn with him.
“I’ve been here a lot,” he said, adding he is a big fan of “Glee” and Mr. Monteith.
A man who identified himself as Richard Monteith, a cousin of the “Glee Star,” thanked those who showed up to the event. He said the show of support made it easier to cope with the death.
Before becoming an actor, Mr. Monteith worked as a Walmart people greeter in Nanaimo, B.C., as well as a taxicab driver, school bus driver, and roofer.
He was also a drummer for the California-based band Bonnie Dune, and was an avid supporter of the Project Limelight Society, a Vancouver charity that offers a theatre program to at-risk youth.
His big break came in 2009 when he landed the Finn Hudson role on “Glee.”
Fox, the network that produces “Glee,” announced Friday the show would return on Sept. 26., a week later than originally planned because of Mr. Monteith’s death.
There has been no mention of what’s in store for Mr. Monteith’s character.