TORONTO - "Glee" bid farewell to its big-hearted football hunk Finn Hudson with a teary episode that also paid tribute to late star Cory Monteith.
Titled "The Quarterback," Thursday's episode featured Finn's former glee club pals reuniting at McKinley High for a memorial three weeks after his death, with only vague references to what actually killed him.
Those tidbits nevertheless seemed to veer close to the real-life sudden passing of Monteith himself, who was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room in July of an accidental drug overdose that included heroin and alcohol.
In a voice-over that begins the sombre episode, Chris Colfer's character Kurt Hummel, who was Finn's step-brother, says: "Everyone wants to talk about how he died, too, but who cares? One moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived."
The 31-year-old Monteith had spoken openly about a long battle with addiction.
Later, Kurt says to a grieving Santana, played by Naya Rivera: "If there's one thing I learned form Finn dying it's that shame is a wasted emotion. I'm sure Finn had secrets, too, but who cares now?"
Songs included covers of "Seasons of Love" from the Broadway musical "Rent;" James Taylor's "Fire & Rain;" The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You;" The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" and Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender."
Lea Michele, who played Finn's on-again-off-again girlfriend Rachel and was Monteith's girlfriend in real life, made her appearance towards the end of the hour-long episode.
Choking back tears, she performed Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" in a mournful style akin to Adele's powerhouse version.
"I loved Finn and he loved me and he loved all of you guys. I know he did," she said before singing her solo.
The episode ended with the words: Cory Monteith 1982-2013.
"Glee" is slated to take a break for several weeks while Fox airs baseball's World Series.
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