The nation has been left reeling after the revelation that Mark Salling has committed suicide a matter of weeks before he was due to be sentenced for possession of child pornography. His colleagues and attorney have made compassionate statements about their associate, who was just 35.

Mark Salling at The Viper Room in 2015Mark Salling at The Viper Room in 2015

The former 'Glee' star is thought to have hanged himself at some stage over the last couple of days, his body having been discovered around 9am near Big Tujunga Cyn Road. Los Angeles County Coroner's officer Ed Winter confirmed the news to People yesterday (January 30th 2018).

'He was found hanging from a tree in the area of the Los Angeles River in Sunland', he said, adding that an autopsy is due to be undertaken within the nexy couple of days.

His attorney also confirmed the sad news. '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 judgment', Michael Proctor said in a statement. '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 most difficult part of the story is comprehending that Salling had only recently pleaded guilty to possessing images of prepubescent children, with over 25,000 indecent images and 600 videos discovered on his computer and a separate drive. He was due to be sentenced on March 7th, and faced up to seven years in prison while also registering as a sex offender.

Salling played Noah 'Puck' Puckerman in 'Glee' between 2009 and 2015, and, despite his horrific conduct, some of his colleagues from the show have paid tribute to him in the wake of his death.

'Today we lost another Glee cast member', the show's vocal coordinator Tim Davis said on Twitter. 'Yes, he committed crimes against children. Yes, it's horrific. But Mark Salling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents.'

He also went on to beseech people not to bombard Salling of his family with hate at this difficult time. 'PLEASE withhold your cruel comments', he added. 'Let me be clear. Having compassion for Mark Salling 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.'

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Salling's co-star Matthew Morrison also paid tribute in the form of a photo of the pair of them alongside Cory Monteith, who died of an overdose back in 2013.