To say that the late Glee actor Cory Monteith meant the world to co-star Lea Michele would be an understatement. Not only did the pair's characters - Rachel and Finn - date on screen in the high school comedy musical series, but their fictional romance was reflected in real life with the pair having dated for a year at the time of Monteith's untimely passing. Partners on and off screen, their love grew out of their working relationship that blossomed into friendship.

Cory Monteith Lea Michele
Michele & Monteith Had Dated For A Year.

Monteith was discovered dead by hotel staff when he failed to check out of a Vancouver room after an evening out with friends. Although an initial autopsy doubted substance abuse as a cause, a following toxicology report revealed that a deadly cocktail of heroin and alcohol had caused a death by overdose. The 31 year-old was known to have had drug issues in the past, having been in and out of rehab several times, but after a rehab stint in April appeared to be clean.

Cory Monteith Lea Michele
The Couple Were Comfortable Together Out & About.

26 year-old Michele was aware of her boyfriend's drug troubles and publically gave him her full support upon his entry to rehab this year. Speaking to People at the time, the young actress said "I love and support Cory and will stand by him through this. I am grateful and proud he made this decision." Michele was celebrating a birthday on a girls' trip to Mexico at the time of Monteith's death but the news wasn't any less raw as it reached her. A source speaking to Hollywood Life on 14th July described "She [Lea Michele] is absolutely hysterical and completely inconsolable. She is devastated beyond belief."

Lea Michele
Now Lea Is Left Devastated By The Loss Of Her Boyfriend.

However, although she is not ready to go face-to-face with the public, the actress has gathered herself enough to thank fans for their outpouring of support tweeted alongside an intimate photo of her and Monteith happily snuggled together on a day at the beach, captioned "Thank you all for helping me through this time with your enormous love & support. Cory will forever be in my heart." She has organised her boyfriend's funeral and cremation with his mother and also gathered the mourning Glee cast and crew for a private ceremony to remember Cory with memories and music.

Glee will return for a fifth season (with Cory Monteith's Finn Hudson written out) on 19th September this year.