Updated Tuesday, 5:50 p.m.: The British Columbia coroner’s office released a statement saying that Cory Monteith died of a “mixed drug toxicity,” which involved heroin and alcohol. The office said there is no evidence to suggest Monteith’s death was anything other than a “most-tragic accident.”
Following the sudden death of Cory Monteith last weekend, fans are asking Twitter Inc. to keep the “Glee” star’s Twitter account up and running.
Under the hashtag #DontDeleteCorysTwitter, hundreds of Twitter users are posting impassioned pleas to the social networking site, saying the late actor’s Twitter account is the only thing left they have to remember him by.
#DontDeleteCorysTwitter Please, it's helping me cope.
â€” take-it-easyHogwarts (@thepinksunnies) July 16, 2013
â€” Katelyn (@KatelynPagela) July 16, 2013
#DontDeleteCorysTwitter you can't delete his twitter and pretend he never existed he doesn't deserve that
â€” 1 9 8 5 (@Hecallmecarrot) July 16, 2013
Monteith, who played the naïve but earnest Finn Hudson on “Glee,” was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday at the age of 31. The cause of his death is still being investigated. Fox’s half-hour musical comedy has a solid fan base of dedicated viewers, also known as Gleeks, and has been credited with introducing older rock hits such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” to younger audiences.
In the wake of his death, Monteith is also gaining several Twitter followers per second, having accrued more than 8,000 new followers between 9 a.m. and noon on Tuesday alone, bringing his total to more than 2,006,000.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment, and no announcement has been made on what will happen to Monteith’s account. Twitter’s policy regarding deceased users is clear that it will deactivate a dead user’s account only at the request of immediate family or a person authorized to act on behalf of his or her estate. Even then, the process requires multiple steps on the part of the deceased’s loved one or representative, including providing a copy of the death certificate and a signed statement. Twitter also states that it is “unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased.”
It’s unclear how the appeal to save Monteith’s account spread, but it does speak volumes about the new role of social media in public grieving, particularly as it relates to fandom. In a blog post on Huffington Post last year, Jesse Miller, a public speaker on social media safety and awareness, said latching onto the social media account of the recently deceased is a natural way both to convey sympathy and to keep up with the story of someone’s death as it progresses.
“When a person passes away, their social media presence lives on. We see this every day with each passing, especially when the nature of death is interesting enough for media to seek the Facebook profile or Twitter account to source photos or posts for the corresponding story.”
The sudden growth of Monteith’s Twitter account following his death is by no means unique. Film critic Roger Ebert, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and death-metal singer Mitch Lucker are just a few celebrity Twitter users who saw their followers surge after their deaths. Chavez and Lucker’s accounts remain dormant but active, while Ebert’s was taken over by RogerEbert.com’s editor, Jim Emerson, and Ebert’s widow, Chaz. In a tweet on April 11 -- one week after Ebert’s death -- Chaz wrote that her husband had instructed her to tweet for him.
Monteith’s final tweet, posted on July 12, was a reference to the Syfy movie “Sharknado.”