Jane Lynch Chokes Up Remembering Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith and Jane Lynch

Kevin Winter/Getty

updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET

originally published 07/18/2013 AT 8:15 AM ET

Jane Lynch fought back tears as she remembered Cory Monteith as a big-hearted soul in an emotional appearance Wednesday on The Tonight Show.

“He was a really bright light in our family, and we’ve lost a really great guy,” the actress, 53, said of her Glee costar, who died last weekend at age 31.

Lynch said Monteith was always grateful for having been given the chance to act on Glee, and he shared that good fortune with others.