Mark Salling, the former Glee star who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and was scheduled to be sentenced in March, was found dead Tuesday. He was 35.
Salling’s lawyer, Michael Proctor, confirmed his death to but did not reveal the cause of death.
“I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning,” Proctor said in an emailed statement. “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. 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 Associated Press and TMZ further reported Salling may have died of an apparent suicide at the Los Angeles River in Sunland, where Salling lived.
Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Det. Meghan Aguilar confirmed police are conducting a “death investigation” in the 11900 block of Big Tujunga Road in Sunland but declined to identify the body.
She referred callers to the county coroner’s office, which did not return calls.
Salling was scheduled to be sentenced in early March under a plea agreement he reached with federal prosecutors in October, in which he admitted he possessed pornographic images of prepubescent children. The agreement stated that a search warrant found more than 50,000 images of child porn on Salling’s computer and a thumb drive.
Salling was arrested in December 2015 at his home on a charge of possession of child pornography. Best known as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on Glee, Salling was arrested after the LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant on Salling’s home in the San Gabriel Mountains foothills.
In May 2016, he was charged in a federal indictment with receiving and possessing child pornography on his laptop computer and a flash memory drive, the Justice Department in Los Angeles announced.
In the plea agreement reached in October, prosecutors agreed to ask a judge to sentence the actor to a prison term of four to seven years. He would also be required to register as a sex offender, pay restitution and abide by restrictions on where he can live.
Salling is the second former Glee actor to have died. Cory Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2013. He was 31. The local coroner later determined the cause of death to be an accidental drug overdose due to a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol.