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THE GLEE CAST
Less than two weeks after Cory Monteith died on July 13 from a lethal mixture of heroin and alcohol – and months before the show returned to TV Sept. 26 – the cast of Fox's hit musical series came together to honor their peer in a very special place: the Paramount studio lot, where Glee's auditorium scenes are filmed. Soon after, the cast accepted a Teen Choice Award, which they dedicated to their fans because "we know that Cory would have wanted us to," said costar Jenna Ushkowitz. Monteith's character, Finn Hudson, will be written out of the show in this season's third episode, a tribute to the late actor airing Oct. 10.
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Soon after reuniting with her Glee family, Michele broke her silence on her boyfriend's passing, thanking her fans for their "enormous love amp support," on Instagram on July 29, adding, "Cory will forever be in my heart." Weeks later – after returning to set and even stepping out for pal Jamie-Lynn Sigler's baby shower – she dedicated her Aug. 11 Teen Choice Award win to Monteith. Michele promised fans, "We're going to get through this together." In a subsequent interview with TV Week Australia, she called shooting Glee's tribute to Finn "very therapeutic."
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Days after Monteith died, Lynch choked up on The Tonight Show remembering the "bright light in our family." Known for her seamless portrayal of the cutthroat coach-turned-trainer Sue Sylvester, she recounted his generous spirit and talent as she fought back tears, adding, "I don't think he left one day unlived."
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When he took the stage at a New York City performance the afternoon after Monteith died, Morrison, known for his upbeat portrayal of Glee choir director Will Schuester, admitted to the audience that it was "awkward" to continue the performance in the wake of the tragedy. Still, "We'll do it in Cory's honor," he said, opening the show with an a capella version of A Chorus Line's "What I Did for Love," which was featured in Glee's second season.
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Although the show went on as the Glee cast returned to set at the beginning of August, the Santana Lopez actress told Latina magazine, "We're definitely taking it day by day. Everybody's really just leaning on each other and trying to do good work." Soon after in October, Rivera showed off some new bling: an engagement ring from fiancé Big Sean.
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Colfer, who portrayed Monteith's stepbrother Kurt on the Fox music series, shared Rivera's sentiments as the cast began shooting season five. "We're hanging in there," he said during an August taping of Live! with Kelly and Michael. "We're doing good."
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Before she made her way to the ballroom on Dancing with the Stars this season, the Mercedes Jones actress memorialized her costar on Twitter. "Yesterday I got to sit with my Glee family and remember a man I considered a brother and friend. With a very heavy heart, RIP Cory Monteith," she wrote. "Continued prayer for his family and Lea. Sendings hugs to all you gleeks."
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HARRY SHUM, JR.
"This is how I remember him," the Mike Chang actor shared on Instagram, where he created a collage tribute to Monteith with behind-the-scenes pictures from the Glee set. "Kind hearted. Incredibly funny. Extremely passionate."
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After playing one of Monteith's on-screen love interests, Agron was among the first to speak out, telling PEOPLE, "In this difficult time, I am leaning on all of the wonderful memories we shared with Cory, how many ways he was able to make us smile." She also leaned on her costars: Agron, who's not expected to appear in the tribute episode, later reunited with cast mates Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz to support Chord Overstreet at his July 20 Los Angeles concert.
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Back in the halls of McKinley High School, "We're picking up the pieces," Criss (who plays Blaine Anderson) tells Cosmopolitan in its October issue. "Cory loved life and wanted his friends to be happy, so it's only right that we try and start to smile again."
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Expressing her gratitude over the opportunity to collaborate with Monteith, the Coach Beiste actress (far right) – who popped the question to longtime love Bridgett Casteen in October – said in a statement, "My heart is broken by the news of Cory's passing. He was an amazing man that I will hold close to my heart forever."