Disturbing Details Discovered In Cory Monteith's Autopsy Report

Actor Cory Monteith rose to fame as Finn Hudson on the hit musical TV series "Glee." On the show, he played an athlete who becomes part of his high school's glee club, and his character won over fans with his boyish charm and kind heart.  Unfortunately, Monteith's prospering career was cut short by his untimely death in 2013. His body was found on July 13, 2013, in his Vancouver hotel room (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

Monteith checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, Canada, on July 6, per People magazine. The actor had gone to Vancouver Island for a hike and visited with friends, and he seemed to be in good spirits (via the CBC). Notably, he had dinner with Maureen Webb, the co-founder of Project Limelight, a charity close to Monteith's heart that provides free performing arts programs for economically disadvantaged children. The two talked about fundraising ideas for the organization, and she told the CBC that the star was "very positive" during their time together. According to Webb, "he was always very generous" and offered to "use his notoriety to attract attention, and we were coming up with ways that could benefit Project Limelight." Webb was instrumental in getting Monteith into acting and said he was "more of a musician" when they first met. He was only 19 years old at the time, but she believed that he had all the right qualities to be a successful actor.

Monteith's early struggles with addiction

After the tragic discovery of his body, there was a lot of speculation about the cause of his death. The talented "Glee" star had struggled with substance abuse since he was a teenager, and he had been remarkably candid with the media about his issues with drugs and alcohol. In a 2011 interview with Parade magazine, Cory Monteith revealed that he started smoking pot and drinking when he was 13 years old and "was out of control" by the age of 16 (via The Hollywood Reporter). He said he did "anything and everything, as much as possible," and first went to rehab at the age of 19. 

Monteith's interest in acting helped him straighten out his life. Early in his career, he landed a string of guest spots on such TV series as "Smallville" and "Supernatural" (via IMDb). Monteith's big break came with the series "Glee," which debuted in 2009. The show quickly proved to be a hit with television audiences who tuned in each week to watch its stars perform an array of musical numbers and catch all the fictional high school drama. Each episode included an eclectic mix of musical covers, from Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to Kanye's "Gold Digger" (via Discogs). Monteith and the rest of the cast even won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2010 after the show's first season on the air. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Monteith returned to rehab

While on "Glee," Cory Monteith began dating Lea Michele, who played his on-screen love interest, Rachel Berry. He had all this success and personal happiness, but he still found himself struggling with substance abuse after the first few seasons. In March 2013, during the production of the show's 4th season, Monteith decided to return to rehab, and revisions were made to the final two episodes to accommodate him. His girlfriend Lea Michele publicly supported him, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she was "grateful and proud he made this decision."

Only a few months later, however, Monteith returned to his old bad habits. There is no evidence about what led him to relapse while in Vancouver, but he was seen with three people the night before his body was discovered (via People). According to reports, he returned to his room around 2:15 a.m. alone. When Monteith failed to check out of the hotel at noon on July 13, hotel staff entered the room and found the actor's body. Canadian authorities quickly processed the scene and conducted an autopsy. "There was evidence in the room that was consistent with a drug overdose," explained police spokesman Constable Brian Montague (per People). A hypodermic needle and a spoon with traces of drugs on it were found at the scene, according to the official coroner's report

Monteith's death was caused by drugs and alcohol

According to the official report from the British Columbia Coroner, Cory Monteith died of "combined heroin and alcohol toxicity." The coroner determined that he had "a moderate level of intoxication" based on the amount of alcohol found in his system. Morphine and codeine were also present. The report explained that Monteith had periods of abstaining from drug use, and "after a period of cessation ... a previously tolerated drug concentration level may become toxic and fatal." Ultimately, Monteith's death was listed as "accidental." 

Later that month, his friends, family, and colleagues gathered to hold a private memorial in Hollywood (via E! Online). A statement from the Fox television network said the service was a place "to share memories and music in an emotional celebration of the life of Cory Monteith." The loss of Monteith deeply affected the lives of his friends and loved ones, who continue to honor and miss him. On the eighth anniversary of his passing in 2021, several people, including Lea Michele, posted tributes on social media. Actor Kevin McHale, one of Monteith's "Glee" co-stars, remembered Monteith as the "biggest heart there ever was" on Twitter (via Entertainment Weekly).