July 15, 2013 11:18am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Naya Rivera of 'Glee': Cory Monteith Was a 'Special Part of This World'
Glee's Naya Rivera has released a statement on the passing of her friend and co-star Cory Monteith.
"The entire Glee family and I are deeply saddened by this tragedy," the actress said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Cory was and always will be a part of my own family and a good friend. He was a special part of this world and will forever be missed. My heart goes out to Cory’s family and Lea and while we are grateful for everyone's well wishes, privacy during this time of grief is greatly appreciated."
Rivera, along with stars Lea Michele (Monteith's girlfriend), Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz and others, was one of the original Glee stars. She was promoted to series regular in season two.
Monteith was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room Saturday. The cause of death has not been determined, and an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday. Foul play is not suspected.
The actor voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility in late March for treatment for substance abuse, marking his second attempt to seek help. He left the facility in April and in recent weeks vacationed with Michele before spending time in Vancouver earlier this month.
Rivera plays former cheerleader Santana Lopez. While her character often clashed with Monteith's Finn Hudson, the two were considered friends. Santana played a key role in bringing Finn back into Rachel's life in New York, ultimately breaking up Rachel and a new relationship. In a November 2011 episode of Glee, Finn was the one who publicly outed Santana.
It's unclear how Monteith's passing will impact Glee.