The actor was aged 35 years old
Mark Salling, famously known for playing Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman’ on Glee, has passed away of a suspected suicide. The 35 year old was found near his home in Sunland, Los Angeles, just weeks before his final sentencing for possession of child pornography.
A source told Bloomberg that Salling was found ‘hanging in a riverbed area’ and the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is treating the death as a suicide.
Salling’s lawyer has since released the following statement, ‘I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning. Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgement. He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.’
The actor and singer starred on several seasons of Glee between 2009 and 2015, then was later arrested in late 2015 after police officers reportedly seized over 50,000 pornographic images and videos of children on his hard drive, laptop and flash drive.
The charge for possession of such material has a maximum sentence of twenty years, however he entered into a plea deal last October which was expected to lessen the punishment to between four and seven years. Salling was due to appear at court on March 7 for his final sentencing.
His former Glee colleagues have since spoken out about the situation, with vocal coach Tim Davis’ comments in particular calling for respect. He said, ‘Today we lost another #Glee cast member. Yes, he committed crimes against children. Yes, it’s horrific. But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents. PLEASE withhold your cruel comments.’
After drawing the ire of some who criticised Davis for his statement, he followed up with, ‘Let me be clear. Having compassion for #MarkSalling in no way minimizes his crimes, nor does it minimize the pain and devastation of the victims of those crimes. I’m just saying stop adding to his family’s pain. This was their son. If you’re without sin, feel free to cast stones.’
Matthew Morrison posted a screenshot from a Glee episode, which featured himself dancing alongside the late Cory Monteith and Mark Salling captioned with angel emojis.
Cast member Jane Lynch has since said she is ‘brokenhearted’ and called the death ‘sad and very tragic’, while fellow Glee actor Iqbal Theba simply posted ‘Oh Mark’ on Twitter.
Other members of the Glee cast such as Lea Michele and Chris Colfer have yet to make a statement.
For those who feel they may require mental health support, the Samaritans can be reached 24/7 on their hotline 116 123 and can also be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.