Cory Monteith's cousin Richard Monteith is opening up about the Glee star's shocking death on Saturday and says he's heartbroken to have lost one of his biggest heroes.
In an exclusive interview with Canada's Global News, Richard said he considered Cory "a beautifully genuine soul" that he always looked up to. "It's like my hero died," he said. "He would do anything for anyone -- give you the shirt off his back."
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While Richard acknowledged that Cory's life and career had "started out rough," he emphasized that he quickly rose to the top with his huge success on Glee. "He was able to do what he wanted, and supply his family with what he wanted to. And he was at the top -- he was where he wanted to be."
Richard said he's inspired to keep striving for his own goals because of Cory's inspiration. "He's my hero because he made me believe that your whole life... everyone tells you you can't do it, you can't make it. And he's the only one that made me believe that I could do it. I can make it, I could be a singer, I could be an actor, I could be whatever I wanted to be..." He added: "He told me no matter how long your tunnel is -- just know there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. He was that light for me."
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Richard said Cory's influence had changed many lives, including his own, and he believes people should not solely judge his legacy on the last chapter of his life. "His life was full of beautiful stories, triumphs, failures and successes that it does not matter what his problems were... it matters how many lives he changed and that he was genuine."