In a touching tribute, billionaire Richard Branson took to his blog yesterday to express his sadness over the death of actor Cory Monteith and share praise for his legacy of charity work.
Montieth, best known as Finn Hudson on "Glee," was found was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room over the weekend, and an autopsy is planned for today.
"Cory Monteith was a beautiful soul. His awareness of his own struggles led him to reach out to young people all over the world with deep compassion and empathy to help them through their struggles," writes Branson.
"He was deeply committed to ending youth homelessness
. We'll never forget watching him on the streets in Canada working with homeless teenagers and with organisations like Foyer in the UK, inspiring and giving a lifeline of hope to young people who were overwhelmed that he took the time to walk beside them to listen and share his own story."
Branson goes on to describe how Monteith last year helped start Project Limelight
with Virgin Mobile — a nonprofit that offers free performing arts programs for children from Vancouver’s Eastside.
“I think kids really need a place to go and feel like they belong,” Monteith says in a video posted to the organization’s website. “When I was a kid, I struggled a lot with who I was and where my life was going and what I was interested in. And I was fortunate to have the arts inspire me."
Montieith, who was best
Just days before his death, Monteith met with casting director Maureen Webb, to whom he credited as giving him the inspiration to try acting. When she told him about the idea to start Project Limelight, he immediately gave the initiative his full backing.
“When I first started as an actor, mentorship was one of the most important things for me because I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know how to approach getting into the arts,” Monteith says in the Project Limelight video.
“If it weren’t for the teachers and actors who showed me, I would have never gotten into acting,” he says.
“I’d never have been able to find my way,” he adds.
You can check out Monteith passionately talking about the charity below. Added Branson in his blog: "We mourn the loss of a lovely human being with a big heart who moved mountains to make the world a better place. All of our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones."
Monteith's reps said Sunday
that donations can be made in his honor at Project Limelight's website or via email at Project Limelight Society, 225 E. Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6A 1Z6.