Filipino singer/actress Charice Pempengco has shared her memories of late Glee co-star Cory Monteith, thanking the actor for his "kindness" in marking her birthday during a long day shooting the hit show.
Monteith died in Canada on 13 July (13) after taking a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol, and Pempengco admits her "body felt cold" when she heard news of his passing.
The star, who played exchange student Sunshine Corazon on the series, has now penned an open letter for CNN.com, detailing her pal's generosity of spirit as they worked together.
Recalling the time she spent her birthday on set, Pempengco writes, "The defining moment of our friendship happened the third time I joined the cast of Glee... It was May 9, 2011. It was a long shooting day that swelled into the wee hours of the following morning.
"I was a tad emotional when the clock struck 12 midnight - not because I was tired - but because May 10 was my birthday. And I... was alone in America. My family was not there, my friends were not there, I didn't have my loved ones there to celebrate my birthday...
"But Cory came to the rescue, just in time, with his sweet greeting: 'Happy birthday, Charice!' A big smile crossed his handsome face. There was sincerity in his tone as he gave me a tight hug. He became family to me at that moment.
"In the remaining hours of our shoot, Cory told me he had Googled me and found my date of my birth. Cool Cory's act of kindness. He told other members of the Glee cast that it was my birthday and I was floored at how many of them greeted me with their warm birthday wishes."
Speaking about her grief, the singer/actress explains, "My body felt cold when I learned about his death. Too soon, too early, too young. I never thanked Cory enough for that one moment in time when he made me feel like family. I never thanked him enough for making me happy on that lonely day."
She adds, "I am confident he's singing with the angels now. I am more than confident that his suave style, his cool attitude about everything will endear him more to his new-found winged friends in the afterlife. Thank you, Mr. Cool. My grateful heart will always miss you - especially so on my birthday."
There's very much a strength of conviction in remaining what you were, but arguably more so in becoming what you want to be.
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