This story contains discussion of suicide and child abuse and may be disturbing for some readers.
It was the latest blow for fans, following his 2015 arrest for possession of more than 50,000 child sex abuse images, reportedly found on his laptop and flash drive by an ex-girlfriend.
The star was awaiting sentencing when he allegedly took his own life.
Over its six-year run and the three years post-final-episode, the wholesome family show that tackled social issues through song and dance has been plagued by drugs, divorce, domestic violence charges, and death.
And the news of Salling is just the latest in a string of scandals, making the show’s shiny social commentary seem rather grittily real.
The tragic deaths.
In July 2013, Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the show, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver. The 31-year-old, who was in a relationship with his co-star, Lea Michele, at the time, had served several stints in rehab since he was 19, and had reportedly struggled with substance abuse since his early teens. His death was ruled to be accidental, the result of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol.
Just three months after Monteith’s death, assistant director Jim Fuller passed away from suspected heart failure, leaving cast and crew devastated, before production assistant Nancy Motes was found dead in a hotel room in February of 2014 from a drug overdose.
Motes left behind a note in which she appeared to blame her half sister, actress Julia Roberts, describing alleged emotional abuse that was so bad it “drove me into the deepest depression I’ve ever been in”.
Fellow production assistant, Cristina Lageman spoke at the time of Motes’ death about the impact the tragedies had had on “The Glee Family”, with colleagues posting on Facebook: “We’ve lost another one.”
Fast forward another few months and star Becca Tobin, who played Kitty Wilde on the show, lost her “workaholic” boyfriend Matt Bendik to a heart attack.