Londonderry actor Damian McGinty has led tributes to his Glee co-star and friend Cory Monteith after he was found dead in a Vancouver hotel at the weekend.
The 31-year-old Canadian actor, best known for the role of Finn Hudson on the award-winning Fox television series, had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. His sudden death has shocked his cast-mates and millions of fans of the smash hit show around the world.
An autopsy to establish a cause of death is scheduled for today.
The Calgary-born star, who was in a relationship with his Glee co-star Lea Michele, was good friends with Los Angeles-based McGinty who is originally from Galliagh, Co Derry.
The 21-year-old former child star of Phil Coulter's group Celtic Thunder won a role in Glee in 2011 and shared his first scenes with Monteith as an Irish student called Rory.
Yesterday, the upset actor took to Twitter to share his thoughts following his friend's tragic sudden death.
"The guy I shot my first acting scene with. The nicest guy I've met. Can't believe it," he wrote.
On Saturday, just after noon, Monteith was discovered dead in his room on the 21st floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, in Vancouver, British Columbia, after he missed his check-out time.
Vancouver's deputy police chief Doug Lepard said he had been dead for several hours and foul play was ruled out. Monteith had checked into the hotel on July 6 and was due to check out on Saturday, Lepard told reporters.
He said the actor had been out with people earlier and that those people were being interviewed.
Others were in the hotel room with Monteith on Friday night, but evidence including his fob key entries indicate he returned to his room by himself early on Saturday and was alone when he died, police said.
The police chief said he wanted to offer condolences "to the family, friends, castmates and millions of fans of Mr Monteith".
The star's spokeswoman, Melissa Kates, said in a statement: "We are so saddened to confirm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate."
Monteith had voluntarily admitted himself to rehab in March, following an earlier spell at a treatment facility when he was aged just 19.
He has spoken candidly in the past of his long-running problems with drug abuse. He once told an interviewer he took "anything and everything".
Monteith had not featured in the final episodes of the fourth series of Glee earlier this year, but he had been expected to take part in the filming of the fifth series, due to air in the US on September 19.
A statement sent out on behalf of Glee executive producers, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Broadcasting Company, said: "We are deeply saddened by this tragic news.
"Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person.
"He was a true joy to work with and we will all miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."
Glee (2009-present) has millions of fans around the world who call themselves 'Gleeks'. It focuses on a group of talented misfits who escape the harsh realities of William McKinley High school by joining a glee club. The show has featured guest spots by Britney Spears and Gwyneth Paltrow. Cory Monteith has been a main cast member since its first episode, starring as Finn Hudson. In 2011-12 Londonderry-born actor Damian McGinty joined the cast of Glee, playing Rory Flanagan.