Jane Lynch held back tears while remembering her late Glee costar Cory Monteith on Tonight Show with Jay Leno Wednesday night. “Cory’s one of the biggest hearts, was a real bright light,” Lynch told Jay Leno as her voice began to crack.

Lynch went on to share that Monteith knew how fortunate he was to be on the Fox hit series and to have all of the benefits that came along with it. “He was one of those guys that … he knew he was breathing rarefied air. The gifts that this wonderful show gave us. He was always aware that it was a gift and he was quite generous,” she said.

The actress, who’s currently starring on Broadway as Miss Hannigan in a reproduction of Annie, believes that Monteith made the most of his time. “He was one of those adventurous types of people,” she said. “I always admired how he would get up… you know, he would fly to Mexico, he’d throw parties for his friends. I don’t think he left one day unlived.” Right after Monteith’s last stint in rehab in April, he flew off to Mexico with his girlfriend and onscreen love Lea Michele.

When Leno asked Lynch how she’d like people to remember Monteith she shared a touching anecdote. “He once flew across the country on his own nickel to meet with a sick kid whose last wish was to meet him,” she said. “That’s the kind of guy he was. He was just a real giver.”

“He was a real bright light in our family,” Lynch added, talking about everyone who’s been a part of Glee. “We’ve lost a really great guy.”

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