By Katie Atkinson
Updated July 23, 2013 at 05:39 PM EDT
Jenna Ushkowitz Cory Monteith
Credit: Jordan Strauss/Getty Images

The young stars of Glee were largely unknown before landing their breakout roles back in 2009, and they’ve grown up together in the spotlight. That’s why Cory Monteith’s death more than a week ago hit the group especially hard — they hadn’t lost just a co-star; they’d lost a family member.

Tributes have poured in from Monteith’s co-stars, including Chord Overstreet dedicating a song to his late friend and Dianna Agron remembering his “enormous talent.” Now Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) has posted an Instagram photo of the tight-knit cast along with a message to Monteith:

“I am so grateful that Glee brought this group of extraordinary individuals together to form a family,” Ushkowitz wrote on Instagram. “I was lucky enough to closely experience the love and light that Cory shared with the world, as well as having the privilege of traveling down the road together on a once in a lifetime journey. Cory always reminded me to be gracious, kind and open, and he will leave a mark in my heart forever. Thank you everyone for your constant support and love while we mourn the loss of our dear friend, and continued support to Cory’s family, and to Lea.”

Glee will begin production in August on season 5, the premiere of which was delayed a week to Sept. 26 in light of Monteith’s passing.

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