On Tuesday, January 30th, news broke that “Glee” star Mark Salling tragically died of suicide at only 35 years old. His sudden death came only a few short months before his sentencing in relation to child pornography charges.
Following his death, several people spoke out against the young actor on social media, calling him a “pedophile” and insinuating that he was deserving of taking his own life.
Some celebrities came to his defense, and additionally, one of his close friends weighed in on Salling’s character. According to the friend, Stephi Duckula, Salling was a “devout Christian” who enjoyed birdwatching, reported PEOPLE.
Duckula, president of the Echo Park Ornithology Club in LA, stated, “He really enjoyed birdwatching a lot, and he really cared about birds. He had a lot of animals at his house and he worked at an animal rescue when I knew him. We went bird watching together.”
“I didn’t even know he was an actor when I met him,” she continued. “I just knew he really enjoyed playing music. I went to see his band play a few times, and he just genuinely enjoyed playing music and playing with birds. I knew he was a very devout Christian when I met him, and he also liked playing frisbee golf. He liked being in the outdoors and doing things like that.”
Duckula also revealed that Salling was very humble about his acting career. In the past, he briefly mentioned he “started acting a little bit,” but never mentioned his star role on “Glee.” Even during his time on the hit show, Salling still visited the bird club.
“He was a genuinely nice person and I was really surprised when I heard the things recently about him, but I don’t know anything about any of that stuff,” she admitted. “I just know about bird watching with him. He came on a zoo trip with the club, and he was just really into wildlife and watching birds. I really hope that people remember the good things about him.”
According to PEOPLE, other sources noted that prior to Salling’s suicide, he “isolated himself” and had attempted to kill himself several other times.
Please continue to pray for Mark Salling’s family during this difficult time. In breaking news, a former athlete and his wife tragically died in a car crash.