Cory Monteith, known to most as Finn Hudson of the hit television series, Glee, died just over a week ago, on 13th July 2013. He was 31.
I can't deny it. When I first heard this news, I was genuinely shocked. More than that - I was gobsmacked. It was Finn! It was one of the main stars of Glee! He was so young...he couldn't have died?
I'm not going to bother denying it - I've been a fan of Glee - a self-confessed 'gleek' - since the show first graced our screens in 2009. One of the things that really drew me to the show (beyond it being a musical with pop songs to musical numbers every week) was the story of the central characters. You can argue that Glee is very much about an ensemble cast, but let's face it - the real stars of that show are Finn, Rachel, Kurt, Mr Schue, Sue Sylvester, and Emma Pilsbury. The other characters, however much we might love them, simply aren't as big a part of the ongoing story as the rest. They come and go.
Those few are the ones that the story follows most. You always tune in because you want to know what's happening next in their lives, because theirs are the constant, ongoing storylines.
There was also something in particular that drew me to Finn. I don't know why - I'm really not the sporty type - at all.
Maybe it was the fact that he was always trying to get it right. He didn't always - and when he got it wrong he would often get it very wrong.
There'd be occasions where he'd really flip out. But he'd pick himself back up and learn from that. He'd inspire other people, and at times where he'd messed up, he'd do his very best to fix it. And he'd do it well. The guy knew how to makes amends, that's for sure.
I don't know if that's me finding elements of Finn inspiring, or seeing elements of myself in him, or what, but there's certainly a degree of identification - maybe not in social status or general outlook, but with certain things, I really felt I could identify with Finn.
A lot of that, of course, was down to Monteith's performance. It's one thing to write a character audiences identify and sympathise with (kudos, Ryan Murphy). It's another to embody that character and make it believable. Monteith really achieved that.
As with most gleeks, I should think, one of the moments we'll always remember is the beautiful closing moments of that first ever episode, with Monteith, and his future girlfriend (and fiancé) Lea Michelle as Rachel:
Yes, it's bloody cheesy, but it's great. In fact, comparing it to the times that they've redone the song since, this is actually wonderfully understated. Monteith really shines here, as does Michelle. They're both amazing across the series as a whole, but this truly is a great moment.
Glee was never really 'cool' as such. In the UK, it's probably not even really considered 'popular' anymore - not by the standards it once was, at least. When it first arrived, it was massive, but particularly after it was moved from Channel 4/E4 to Sky One, it's popularity, and indeed audience, dwindled a bit, I think.
I stayed with the series a lot longer than some other people probably did, and continued to love it. Glee remained a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.
Except, sod it - it's not actually that guilty. I call it a 'guilty pleasure' because it's not perceived as being popular or cool at all, but at the end of the day, I love it, and it's as simple as that.
It's always emotional when a fictional character dies within the confines of a show.
But when the actor dies, it's very different - especially if they're still technically in the show when they do pass on.
I feel a bit of an emotional attachment to Cory Monteith, because I love his character, and I'm now never going to see him playing that character - or any character, in any show, for that matter - ever again. That's dreadfully sad.
Also, though, from what I can gather from interviews etc., then he just seemed like a genuinely nice guy.
I wasn't aware of his drug problems. I suppose when you live in the UK and the show is nowhere near as big as it was, it's not unreasonable that you'd be a bit out of the loop when it comes to gossip regarding the stars...
But I do think it's tragic what happened to him, not least because it sounded like he was on the road - and had a genuine desire - to get better. He had an addiction, and was aware of it. He spoke very openly about it all, apparently, and did seem to have a genuine desire to sort himself out.
But just think - if we're (I mean, me and my fellow gleeks) mourning the fact that we won't see Finn again, just think what his poor castmates - especially Lea Michelle - are feeling.
Those two were a couple in real life. They were meant to be getting married in about a weeks' time. I'm not sure I can even imagine what that would be like - planning your wedding with your partner one minute, then planning their funeral the next...
It must be awful. The poor, poor girl.
My heart goes out to Lea Michelle, and to Cory Monteith's family and friends, who must be going through such a tough time of it right now.
Thank you, Cory Monteith - you gave us an amazing, important character that was part of what held together this show that we love so much, and you were absolutely brilliant. Never forgotten.
Goodbye, Finn Hudson. Rest In Peace, Cory Monteith.