The highly anticipated "Glee" tribute to Cory Monteith aired Thursday night in an emotional final sendoff to both the late actor and his character on the musical Fox dramedy.
Monteith, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room in July
after an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol. His death shook the tight-knit cast of "Glee," especially his co-star and real-life girlfriend Lea Michele.
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But Michele and the ensemble cast banded together in Thursday's episode, which revolved around the death of Monteith's character Finn Hudson. The episode, titled "The Quarterback," picked up three weeks after the loss of the football jock turned glee club member.
With emotional performances of songs like "525,600 Minutes," "If I Die Young," and "Fire and Rain," the tribute addressed how a person's death affects family and friends after they're gone.
Producers chose not to include Finn's funeral in the episode, glossed over the cause of his death, and made no mention of Monteith's real-life drug problem (save for a post-tribute drug addiction public service announcement).
However, the most heart-wrenching scene of the show was a very life-meets-art moment where Michele, who plays Finn's love interest Rachel on the show, sobbed through Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."
The "Glee" Monteith tribute scored 7.4 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 — easily the show's best demo number for this season so far, according to EW.com
. The rating is also 40 percent higher than the show's most recent season premiere.
Fans took to Twitter to launch their own tribute to Monteith and Finn.
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