Former Glee star Mark Salling has died at age 35. Salling, who played the character Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the Ryan Murphy musical comedy on Fox, died of as-yet-determined causes, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. According to TMZ, Salling died of an apparent suicide, though the L.A. coroner had not confirmed that cause of death because the actor’s next of kin had not yet been notified.
Salling pleaded guilty in October as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges of child pornography, and was scheduled to be sentenced in the case on March 7. A search warrant executed in December 2015 found more than 25,000 images of child pornography on his computer and thumb drive. In December, Prosecutors agreed to ask a judge to sentence the actor to between four and seven years in prison and require him to register as a sex offender, pay restitution and follow residency restrictions.
Mark Wayne Salling was born in Dallas on Aug. 17, 1982 and got his first gig as a child actor with a role in 1996’s Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering according to an AllMusic bio. He followed up with a guest spot on Walker, Texas Ranger in 1999 and, hoping to make it as a musician, moved to Los Angeles to attend the Los Angeles College of Music in Pasadena, California. Paying the bills by teaching guitar lessons, Salling started recording songs under the stage name Jericho, releasing an independent album, Smoke Signals, in 2008.
His career took off the next year when he landed the role that would make him a household name and a charting act, when he was cast as Puck on Glee in 2009, a gig that allowed him realize all his dreams while playing guitar, singing and acting.
He self-released a second album, Pipe Dreams, on his Pipe Dreams Records label in October 2010. He broke into the top 40 with his version of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” — his first solo performance on the show — which appeared on the eighth episode of season one and on the Glee: The Music, Vol. 1 soundtrack.