"It's been tough. He was a troubled, troubled guy, and he always was," Lynch, 57, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Adopt the Arts' Annual Rock Gala on Wednesday. "This is a very sad end to it but I know that he's at peace now. He's in the arms of a beneficent force."
Lynch and Salling both appeared on the Fox musical series from 2009 to 2015. Lynch played the cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester while Salling played the jock Puck. The same year the show ended Salling was arrested for possession of child pornography. He then pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor in 2017. He was set for sentencing in March.
"I know life was very, very hard for Mark," Lynch told Us Weekly. "I think we all do the best we can at the end of the day. I know that Mark did the best he could."
Courtesy of Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Still, Lynch has fond memories of Salling.
"He took videos of the stages and everything. He was so happy to be coming to work, to be on the show," she told the magazine. "He wrote a song and videotaped his day being on Glee. Driving into the Paramount lot … at that time he was living on a cot in a little room. It was a big jump for him in his career, and also, he had a job and was in with this group of really great kids. I think he knew that he was breathing rarefied air. There was so much joy and happiness in his musical video that he shot for himself. Fox made him take it down. But it was a sweet, beautiful expression of his joy and being in Glee."
Lynch isn't the only one from the show to react to Salling's death. Matthew Morrison, who played teacher Will Schuester on the show, shared a throwback photo that included himself, Salling and Cory Monteith. Jenna Ushkowitz, who played, Tina Cohen-Chang, commented with a heart emoji.
Salling died at the age of 35. He was found dead Tuesday morning outside in the northeast San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to E! News. The L.A. Country Coroner's office told E! News Salling was pronounced dead in an apparent suicide by hanging.