Cory Monteith's cousin has paid a touching tribute to his "hero" following the death of the tragic Glee actor.
Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the hit musical TV show, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver, Canada on Saturday (13Jul13) and his relative, Richard Monteith, has expressed his heartache over losing such a "beautifully genuine soul".
Richard acknowledged that his cousin's life had "started out rough" but that only drove him to succeed, becoming an inspiration to those around him.
He tells Canada's Global News, "It's like my hero died. He would do anything for anyone - give you the shirt off his back. (Because of his success on Glee) he was able to do what he wanted, and supply his family with what he wanted to. And he was at the top - he was where he wanted to be.
"He's my hero because he made me believe that your whole life... everyone tells you you can't do it, you can't make it. And he's the only one that made me believe that I could do it. I can make it, I could be a singer, I could be an actor, I could be whatever I wanted to be... He told me no matter how long your tunnel is - just know there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. He was that light for me.
"His life was full of beautiful stories, triumphs, failures and successes that it does not matter what his problems were... it matters how many lives he changed and that he was genuine."
An autopsy to discover the actor's cause of death took place on Monday (15Jul13) and the results are expected to be released on Tuesday (16Jul13).