SHAMED Glee star Mark Salling was found hanged in woods weeks before he was due to be jailed for possession of 50,000 child abuse images, reports claim.
The actor, 35, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman in the TV series, could have been dead for some time before his body was found near an LA baseball field, it has emerged.
His co-stars paid tribute to the fallen actor with Tim Davis, the show’s former vocal coordinator, tweeting: “Having compassion for #MarkSalling in no way minimises his crimes, nor does it minimise the pain and devastation of the victims of those crimes.”
He added: “I loved Mark and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents.”
Jane Lynch, who played head cheer coach Sue Sylvester, said she would remember him as “the guy who made that really sweet video in the beginning of Glee when he was so happy to be a part of this group”.
In a haunting reminder that Salling is not the first Glee star to die at a young age, Matthew Morrison posted a photo of himself with Salling and Cory Monteith, who died in 2013.
Salling’s lawyer, Michael J. Proctor, confirmed the death of the actor – who was reportedly found in a field close to his home after a “welfare check” 911 call at 8.50am.
TMZ reported that a family member reported Salling missing at 3am on Tuesday.
In a statement his family said: “Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistake and errors of judgement.
“He is survived by his mother and father, and brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”
TMZ reports he was found hanged, but the LADP was unable to confirm the cause of death when contacted by the Sun Online yesterday evening.
Salling pleaded guilty to possession of child abuse images in October last year and was awaiting sentencing, after authorities were reportedly tipped off by an ex-girlfriend.
As part of his plea he agreed to serve between four and seven years in prison. He would also have been required to register as a sex offender.
Salling appeared in all six seasons of the hit Glee, which ended in 2015.
It was reported he had cut both his wrists in a suicide attempt a month-and-a-half before he made the plea deal.
According to TMZ he “freaked out” and called for his roommate, who called the emergency services.
He was rushed to hospital and taken to a rehab facility a few days later.
He was arrested in December 2015 and was found to have downloaded more than 50,000 images and videos of child abuse to his computer and another 4,000 on his flash drive.
According to court documents that circulated last year, Salling stated: “I am pleading guilty because I am guilty of the charges and wish to take advantage of the promises set forth in this agreement, and not for any other reason.”
The 35-year-old was previously sued by a woman for sexual battery.
She claimed Salling forced her to have unprotected sex with him. The pair settled the case for a reported $2.7 million.
Salling’s net worth was estimated at $500,000, and he lived in Los Angeles.
He was born in Dallas, Texas, and reportedly home schooled in a “strict Christian home”.
He went to Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music in Pasadena, California.
During his time on Glee, his performances led to Salling being nominated for a Teen Choice Award for male Breakout Star.
As a musician, he has released two albums, Smoke Signals in 2008 and Pipe Dreams in 2010.
Salling’s Glee co-star Cory Monteith died aged 31 in 2013.
The coroner found he died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol, and ruled that his death was an “accidental overdose”.
Source: The Sun (UK)