Jane Lynch understandably wasn't firing off her usual zingers speaking with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show on Wednesday July 17. Dutifully promoting her new game show Hollywood Game Night, the actress and entertainer, 53, fought back tears as she recalled her Glee costar Cory Monteith, whose July 13 death has Hollywood and fans worldwide reeling.
"Cory had one of the biggest hearts, a real bright light. He was one of those guys. He knew he was breathing rarefied air -- the gift that this wonderful show gave us," said a somber Lynch, who played Coach Sue Sylvester opposite Monteith's lovable singing jock Finn Hudson.
"He was one of those guys who was always aware that it was a gift. He was quite generous and one of those adventurous types of people who would -- he'd fly to Mexico, he'd throw parties for his friends," revealed Lynch. At just 31, Monteith died in Vancouver of "mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol," British Columbia Coroners Service confirmed earlier this week. He was cremated on Tuesday, July 16 following a private viewing with his family and girlfriend (and Glee costar) Lea Michele.
"I don't think he left one day unlived," Lynch continued. "He was a real bright light in our family we've lost a really great guy."
Watch Lynch's emotional tribute to her friend and costar -- and her anecdote about a gesture he made for a dying fan -- in this moving clip.