Sibongile Mafu

Another true Hollywood drug story

2013-07-17 11:45

Sibongile Mafu

When I heard about the death of 31-year-old Glee actor Cory Monteith, I was genuinely devastated. Monteith, who played Finn in the wildly popular series, was found in a hotel room in Vancouver.

The news came through on Sunday morning, and I thought it was another one of those social media hoaxes, which are persistent in killing a celebrity every other week.

But this one wasn't a hoax.

It was revealed that Monteith died of a heroine and alcohol overdose which the British Columbia coroner's office says was "a tragic accident". It was a result that everyone was expecting, since he had been so open about his drug addiction over the years. It didn't make it any less sad.

Not just actors

People have made the inevitable comparisons between Monteith and other talented Hollywood actors who have fallen victim to drugs. These young, immensely talented people were ripped away from us as their careers were starting to take off.  I'm still mourning Heath Ledger, whose body of work was beginning to take shape right before his untimely death. He was well on his way to becoming a lot of people's favourite actor.

But in all of this grief I remembered that these people are not just actors waiting to deliver the next award-winning performance for us, the waiting audience. They have families and partners who will not just miss the person on the big screen but an integral part of their real lives. So it ceases becoming just another True Hollywood Drug Story, and becomes a painfully tragic human story.

Monteith had just recently finished a month's stint in rehab, was reunited with his girlfriend, fellow Gleek Lea Michele and seemed on a healthy road to recovery. It was also revealed that he had been attending AA meetings days before his death and was seeking support on his road to sobriety. So we're left to ask ourselves, how did he not manage to get to the other side when he so clearly wanted to a sober life?

If anything, drugs and drug addiction have shown us the fallibility of human beings, regardless of money, fame, and strength of support systems. The tragically predictable way in which he left the earth doesn’t become any easier to accept. It is not only because he's a high-profile person that make this story so tragic. It's because we've heard so many of them in our own lives.

Sense of hopelessness

There's a sense of hopelessness that engulfs the world when it does happen to a famous individual however, as it seems such an unconquerable obstacle. He had it all at his disposable but still couldn't make it out.

A lot of drug addicts don't have those kinds of resources to seek help. Something as important, and dare I say free as family support, is also lacking. Many are alone. And die alone. But Monteith died alone too, which is probably the most accurate consequence of drug use. There really isn't anyone else there with you at the end.

Now the world is just left with another young Hollywood actor drug story to add to the other drug stories to reference in 30 Seconds games and crossword puzzles. And the clue won't be the great work he contributed over the course of his career. It will be what took his life. He will be defined to the very thing he was fighting most of his adult life to conquer, which is most probably the greatest tragedy.

Glee writers have already assembled to start figuring out a way to move on without one of their leads.

The show must go on.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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Read more on:    cory monteith  |  lea michele  |  heath ledger  |  narcotics  |  celebrity deaths  |  celebrities  |  glee  |  tv

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