LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mark Salling, who played bad-boy Noah "Puck" Puckerman in the hit musical-comedy "Glee," died Tuesday, several weeks after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. He was 35.
Salling pleaded guilty in December after authorities said a search of his computer found more than 50,000 images of child porn. He was scheduled to be sentenced March 7, and prosecutors planned to ask a judge to send him to prison for four to seven years.
A law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly says Salling was found hanging in a riverbed area in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles. The official says the actor's death is being investigated as a suicide.
"I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning," the actor's attorney, Michael J. Proctor, said in an email to The Associated Press.
"Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment," Proctor said, adding the actor's family asked that its request for privacy be respected.
Proctor did not reveal the cause of Salling's death.
Salling had appeared in only a handful of projects before his breakout role in "Glee," the popular Fox TV series about students in a high school glee club and their circle of family and friends. It aired from 2009-15.
Earlier credits included 1996's "Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering," a 1999 guest role on the Chuck Norris series "Walker, Texas Ranger" and a part in the 2014 TV movie "Rocky Road."
A singer-songwriter as well as actor, he released two albums: "Smoke Signals" in 2008 and "Pipe Dreams" in 2010.
Salling's character on "Glee" was a member of the school's football team who ends up joining the glee club. One of his character's friends was another jock-turned-singer, Finn Hudson, who was played by Cory Monteith.
Monteith died in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin, according to a coroner's finding.
Salling's survivors include his parents and a brother.