Glee stars Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch are among the cast and crew who have spoken out following the death of Mark Salling.
The actor died on Tuesday of an apparent suicide weeks before he was due to be sentenced in court over child pornography charges.
Salling, who played bad boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman in the musical comedy series before it ended in 2015, was 35.
Tim Davis, a vocal co-ordinator on the show, was among the first to comment, saying that “having compassion for Mark Salling in no way minimises his crimes”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Today we lost another #Glee cast member. Yes, he committed crimes against children. Yes, it’s horrific.
“But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents.
“PLEASE withhold your cruel comments.”
Davis continued: “Let me be clear. Having compassion for #MarkSalling in no way minimizes his crimes, nor does it minimize the pain and devastation of the victims of those crimes.
“I’m just saying stop adding to his family’s pain. This was their son. If you’re without sin, feel free to cast stones.”
Actress Lynch, who played cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, retweeted Davis’s comment, and later told website TMZ: “It’s tragic and I’m broken-hearted over it.”
Asked how she would remember the actor, she said: “As the guy who made that really sweet video in the beginning of Glee when he was so happy to be a part of this group.”
Morrison, who played teacher Mr Schuester on the award-winning programme, shared a picture of himself with Salling and their Glee co-star Cory Monteith, who died from an accidental overdose in 2013, aged 31.
He added three emojis – one with a sad face and two angels.
Director Paris Barclay also shared a photo of Monteith and Salling together, writing: “It’s a painful loss, again. Two young actors, lost too soon. RIP.”
Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins, tweeted the words “Oh Mark” when the news first emerged. A second tweet showed the Glee cast at the SAG awards after winning an accolade, and had a broken-hearted emoji.
The actor added: “His death is painful for me. Some of u might know him for only his flaws but I also knew him as someone who was great to work with & was kind to my kids.
“I truly wish he’d fought his demons & atoned himself & came out a winner. May we all find solace in some of his gentler memories.”
In December, Salling pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography after prosecutors said he had more than 50,000 images of child porn on his computer and on a USB drive.
The actor, whose sentencing was scheduled for March 7, was expected to face four to seven years in prison.
His body was discovered in a riverbed in the Tujunga neighbourhood of Los Angeles, a law enforcement official said, according to The Associated Press.
His death is being investigated as a suicide, the official said.
Salling’s lawyer Michael J Proctor said in a statement: “I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning.
“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.
“He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”