Fans Hold Vancouver Vigil for Cory Monteith

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One week after the shocking death of Glee star Cory Monteith, fans gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Vancouver hotel where he died of a heroin overdose.

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Shortly after 8 p.m., fans of the 31-year-old actor broke out into the iconic song, Don’t Stop Believin.’

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Who could forget Cory’s character, football player Finn Hudson, singing that Journey song with the Glee club in the series premiere.

A large crowd of fans – carrying candles, flowers, handwritten notes and cards – then started singing O Canada in tribute of the Canadian actor.

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Cory, who was born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, B.C., was a proud Canadian and came to Vancouver often.

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His Canadian roots were deep, and his cousin Richard spoke at the candlelight vigil, thanking fans for their support. He said Cory “loved his fans” more than anything. In tears, Cory’s cousin went on to share his gratitude for the overwhelming turnout.

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Fans signed balloons with special messages to Cory, before releasing them into the sky. One fan, Elaine, said she is a huge Glee fan and will miss Cory. “I liked how Finn said he couldn’t dance and thought he wasn’t cool,” said Elaine. “Even though he was a football star and good looking, he was insecure just like everybody else.”

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As the vigil came to an end, Cory’s cousin Richard was seen hugging fans and thanking each of them for attending the event.

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Cory was found dead by staff at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on Saturday afternoon when he failed to check out of the hotel. The actor-singer took a lethal mix of alcohol and heroine.

“He was not a typical addict where it made him evil,” a source told Us Weekly. “He was the nicest, sweetest guy.”

Cory was a bright child, reading at the fourth-grade level by age 5, but was deeply affected by his parents’ divorce at age 7. At 13, Cory was cutting class to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol, eventually attending 12 different schools before age 16.

In a 2011 interview with Parade, Cory discussed his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, revealing that by age 13, he was skipping school to get drunk and smoke marijuana. By the time he was 16, his drug use was “out of control.”

“Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he admitted. “I had a serious problem.”

How can we learn from this tragedy? How can we talk to our kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse?

Talking to Kids About Death: Lessons From Big Bird

Continue reading here how we can educate our kids about drug use.

Our deepest condolences go out to Cory’s family and friends.

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