Fox announced Friday that theGleepremiere will be delayed a week to Sept. 26 in the wake of star Cory Monteith's death from an overdose on July 13.
"It's hard to even explain how personally upsetting it is," show creator Ryan Murphy tells E!'s Kristin Dos Santos. "His last words to me were, 'I want to get better,' and I always felt and continue to feel even in his death that he did, that he really wanted to fight it and he was humiliated and shamed."
Murphy, who is grieving along with family, friends, cast members and fans, has been mulling how to address Monteith's absence on the show.
"When you're faced with something so sad and so shocking, what do you do? Do we cancel the show? Do we start shooting in January? What do we do?" he says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Ultimately, we decided the best thing for everyone is to get back to work and be around people who knew him and loved him so that everyone can grieve together."
He says it also came down to Lea Michele, Monteith's girlfriend. Murphy tells E! she "felt that the best thing for the cast and crew was to be together and to get back to work and be together every day and talk about our memories of him. So we decided to do that with Lea's blessing and we're going to go back to work and have grief counselors on the set for two weeks because people are really hurting."
Murphy tells both outlets the plan is to pay tribute during the show's third episode.
The first two episodes of season five, a long-planned Beatles tribute, has already been written and will need to be tweaked slightly.
After the third episode, Murphy plans for the show to take a break, go "off the air for awhile and take a hiatus."
Murphy says Monteith's Finn Hudson role will not be recast. "The right thing to do for the show, at least at this point, is to have that character pass. When we do the tribute episode to that character, we'll have to do it in a way where the castmembers will not have to re-create feelings of grief that they've had this week -- but do it in an upbeat way."