The former Glee actress took to Instagram to reveal the sad news to fans on Tuesday (12Apr16). In honour of her relative, Lea decided to add to her tattoo collection with a tiny etching of a steaming hot cup of coffee on her finger.

"I lost my beautiful grandma this week… She wasn't your typical grandma," Lea wrote in the caption. "She gave me my first cup of coffee when I was 8 years old. She said something inappropriate to every boyfriend I've ever had.

"She never made pie or knit me a sweater. But she was my grandma and I loved her. More than anything… I love you Grandma. @prospect_tattoos Bronx NY."

Lea has never made a secret of her close relationship with her family members. Following the tragic death of her boyfriend Cory Monteith back in July 2013, Lea admitted they had been instrumental in helping her deal with the loss.

"My family has experience a lot of loss in their life and they've been so wonderful in being there for me and giving me the strength I need," she told People.

Lea has a history of getting skin art to remember those who have passed. After her former Glee co-star Cory's death, Lea opted to have the words "If you say so" tattooed on her ribcage. The phrase is the final words Cory ever said to her.

It's believed that Lea now has around 16 tattoos - ranging from a tiny bird on her foot to some musical notes on her shoulder.

Back in 2012, Lea spoke about her inking collection, insisting it's not reflective of a secret "wild side".

"I do have 14 tattoos, but I also do come home every single night and watch reality TV with my cat," she told Prestige magazine. "I have a lot of energy. I love being around people. But I’m not wild in the sense of “going out” wild. I’m much more homebody. But the wild stuff... if it’s there, it’s private."