Actor Mark Salling, best known for his role in the musical-comedy Glee was found dead on Tuesday, Jan. 30. His attorney, Michael Proctor, gave an official statement confirming his death and the cause on Feb.1 after an autopsy was performed.
The cause of death was ruled asphyxia by hanging, and the death was ruled suicide. The actor’s attorney declined to comment on if a suicide note was left at the scene or not. Los Angeles Police told several news stations that the actor’s body was found in a wooded area near the Tujunga river in the eastern San Fernando Valley area. He was reported missing at approximately 3 a.m. on Tuesday, and his body was found hours later that same day at nearly 9 a.m.
Known as the character Noah “Puck” Puckerman on Glee, Salling was 35-years-old. In May of 2016, he was indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Having plead guilty to these charges, and was scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 7 of this year. He agreed to a plea deal and was to serve four to seven years in federal prison, followed by a twenty-year supervised release and registration as a sex offender.
The actor was also to pay approximately $50,000 in restitution to the victims involved and their families. However, Salling died before sentencing, so no payment is to be made. Troy Slaten, a criminal defense attorney who is not involved in the case, stated that the victims can potentially sue at civil court for the restitution. It is unclear at this time if the victims or their families will attempt to sue for this payment.
Salling isn’t the first original cast member of Glee to have died at a young age. Cory Monteith, who played the character Finn Hudson, died from an overdose in 2013 at 31 years old. However, Monteith’s death was ruled as an accident. Director Paris Barclay, who worked on Glee, tweeted a picture of himself and the two lost stars with the caption “It’s a painful loss, again. Two young actors, lost too soon. RIP #marksalling.”
Most of the other Glee alumni have remained silent so far, and have not commented on the actor’s death. However, Iqbal Theba who played Principle Higgins, tweeted several times pertaining to the actor’s death. One tweet has a picture of the cast receiving the SAG Award for their first season with the caption “At #SAGAWARDS @GLEEonFOX after we won. 1st season #MarkSalling with Cory.” Another tweet by Theba went into how difficult this loss is, and how most people only saw him for his flaws. He writes, “I also knew him as someone who was great to work with & was kind to my kids. I truly wish he’d fought his demons & atoned himself & came out a winner. May we all find solace in some of his gentler memories.”
His mother, father, and brother are the surviving members of his family, and asked through his attorney that their privacy be respected in this difficult time.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or contact the Saint Rose Counseling Center anytime at 518-454-5200.