'Glee' says goodbye to Finn in tribute to late actor Monteith


By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Television musical comedyseries "Glee" bid farewell on Thursday to Finn Hudson, thehunky, kind-hearted jock played by the late Cory Monteith,offering up songs, remembrances and plenty of tears whilesidestepping the question of how his character died.

Fans had waited to see how the Fox television show wouldaddress the loss of one of its founding cast members followingMonteith's death in July from an accidental overdose of heroinand alcohol at age 31.

In an episode called "The Quarterback," the writers of ashow that often delves into serious topics chose not to useMonteith's death to send a message about drug abuse, and did notprovide a cause of death for his character.

The show began the story three weeks after Finn's funeralwith his stepbrother Kurt (Chris Colfer) preparing to attend amemorial service at McKinley High, the school where the seriesis set.

"Everyone wants to talk about how he died, too, but whocares?" Kurt said. "One moment in his whole life. I care moreabout how he lived."

Finn was a central character on the show, a high schoolfootball star turned choir member who defended the school'smisfits and played an integral part in advancing the series'theme of tolerance.

"Glee" star Lea Michele, who was dating Monteith in anoff-screen romance at the time of his death, appeared near theend of the hour-long episode, singing the Bob Dylan song, "MakeYou Feel My Love" while tears streamed down her face. Hercharacter, Rachel Berry, had dated Finn on the show.

"Glee" premiered in 2009 and instantly became a hit and apop culture phenomenon, with motivational storylines, upbeatmusical numbers and a diverse young cast playing popular andoddball school students who come together in a musical choirgroup. The show has won Golden Globes, Emmys and Peabody awards.

Monteith had talked publicly about his struggles withsubstance abuse and was in rehab as recently as April. He wasfound dead in a Vancouver hotel room in July. Canadianauthorities said he died from an accidental overdose of heroinand alcohol.

"Glee" cast members appeared in a public serviceannouncement that aired at the end of Thursday's episode. "Ourfriend Cory didn't look or act like an addict. He was happy,successful and seemingly had it all," actress Jane Lynch said,before a phone number appeared to connect viewers with treatmentoptions for addiction.

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