They were two talented rising stars, making names for themselves on one of TV’s hottest shows.
The actors and friends strummed guitars and sang to one another in one of the series’ more memorable numbers from season 1.
Almost eight years later, both men are dead — their lives cut short after two very different tragedies.
His death rocked Glee’s tight knit cast, which included his girlfriend, Lea Michele, and exposed a life of trouble and addiction that was very different from his clean-cut public image.
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And on Tuesday, Salling, 35, died of an apparent suicide.
Salling’s life imploded after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor. He was due to be sentenced in March.
Federal investigators say they found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on computers and thumb drives that belonged to Salling. The content depicted children as young as 3 years old being abused, according to court documents.
“Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment,” his attorney Michael Proctor tells PEOPLE. “He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”
Back when Monteith and Salling were cast as a pair of singing football players on Glee in 2009, few could have guessed that their bright futures would turn so dark.