Cory Monteith Was "Feeling Fantastic" Hours Before His Death

As more information about the actor's great demeanor in recent days comes to light, the more shocking this loss becomes

In the days leading up to his death, Cory Monteith, 31, was happy and talking about the future. The Glee actor, whose body was found in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday, had a history of substance abuse -- but according to friends who saw him recently, Cory was in a good place.

"I had several interactions with him yesterday where he said that he was doing amazing," director Adam Shankman told CNN on Sunday. "He even said, 'I am feeling fantastic' … I'm like everybody else, really devastated and confused by what happened."

Monteith also told Shankman that he was looking forward to returning to California to do some Jet Skiing.

Another friend of the actor, his mentor Maureen Webb, had dinner with Cory and his manager Elena Kirschner on Thursday. She, too, says he was making plans for the future; specifically, he wanted to get more involved with her children's charity Project Limelight Society, for which he was a spokesperson.

"He looked so good, so healthy," Webb told People. "I hadn't seen him look that good in a long time...I told him, 'I remember everything we talked about when we first talked about this project. Now it's happening.' His face just lit up. He was in great spirits."

She noted that no one at the table drank any alcohol, opting instead for rhubarb lemonade.

Kirschner has not released a statement on Cory's death, but she did tweet several photographs during that meal, including this one -- believed to be the last photo taken of Monteith before he died.

The actor arrived in Vancouver on July 6, shortly after doing the Glee Season 5 photo shoot. (Here's a picture, tweeted by Monteith's girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele.) TMZ has photographs of him hanging out with friends at a motorcycle shop upon his arrival to the city. A witness claims to have seen Cory drink 3 beers in the shop; possibly an ominous sign, since Monteith recently completed a rehab stint. On the Friday night before his death, he was out with friends and returned to the hotel alone. He was scheduled to check out on Saturday morning, after which he was headed back to L.A. to start work on Glee.

Monteith had big plans for his romantic life after his Vancouver trip as well. According to US Weekly, Monteith and Michele had plans to move in together! A source says, "They weren't talking engagement or marriage yet but it was heading that way. The first step was he was going to move into Michele's L.A. home completely. He was already there all the time."

Tributes continue to pour in from Cory's friends, who are trying to cope with their sudden loss. Gwyneth Paltrow, who did an Emmy-winning guest stint on Glee, released a statement calling Monteith "a sweet and talented man," adding, "My heart breaks for Lea and the entire Glee family."

Co-star Matthew Morrison, who played Cory's onscreen mentor Will Schuester, was performing his cabaret show in New York City on Sunday night. Before the curtain rose, he came out and spoke to the crowd.

"Matt... said, 'We lost a great young man too soon,'" an audience member told Us Weekly. "He said Cory was a beautiful person. Then he told the crowd, 'You came out to see a show, I came out to do one, so let's honor Cory with this performance.'"

During the concert, Morrison dedicated the Chorus Line song "What I Did For Love" to Monteith's memory. "He was very emotional on stage," said the Us source.

He wasn't the only Glee actor to make a public tribute to Cory this weekend. Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans) was playing in a celebrity softball game at New York's Citi Field on Sunday, and dedicated a home run to Monteith.

The first cast member to speak in public about Cory's death, however, will be Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson). Criss is scheduled for a Tuesday appearance on GMA to promote his new film Girl Most Likely, and according to Robin Roberts, he'll be talking about Monteith.

Vancouver authorities have announced that the autopsy of Monteith's body will be fast-tracked, so that the public can have information about the cause of his death in 2-3 days. Foul play has already been ruled out, though police have not revealed anything they found in his hotel room.

Today, those who knew Cory are trying to figure out how to mourn him while celebrating his life. As Adam Shankman tweeted this morning, "Everything seems upside down today. Not laughing or smiling. This is everything he would not want... I'm going to work on celebrating his life tonight. Maybe find some drums and go to town."

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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