Naya Rivera was found dead by authorities less than a week after she was declared missing. Ventura County Sheriff pulled her body from Lake Piru where she was last seen getting on a pontoon boat with her 4-year-old son Josey.
Rivera was best known for her character Santana Lopez which she portrayed from 2009-2015 on the Fox show Glee. Following the heartbreaking news, her castmates and fans took to social media to pay tribute to the 33-year-old actress.
Cast of Glee with Naya’s family. Sending them all much love pic.twitter.com/KAISguTjjk
— melanie (@xme1aniee) July 14, 2020
‘Glee’ cast members visiting Lake Piru in California to say goodbye to Naya Rivera
She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun.
Naya made me laugh like no one else on that set. I always said it while we were working together and I’ve maintained it ever since. Her playful, wicked sense of humor never ceased to bring a smile to my face.
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) July 14, 2020
Darren Criss, who starred as Blaine Anderson on Glee, posted a heartfelt tribute for Rivera on Twitter and Instagram. He wrote about how she was always there for him, even though she didn’t have to be. “And even as I sit here, struggling to comprehend, gutted beyond description — the very thought of her cracks me up and still brings a smile to my face. That was Naya’s gift. And it’s a gift that will never go away,” he ends.
Last Wednesday, hours after Rivera and her son went off, another boat found Josey alone and sleeping in the pontoon, while Naya was nowhere in sight. Authorities believed she went for a swim and drowned in the lake’s strong undercurrents.
7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will.
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Artie Abrams in the series, Kevin McHale was one of Rivera’s closest friends on and off the set. McHale shares that just last week he and Rivera were talking about “running away to Hawaii.” On his Twitter thread, he recounts moments with her even sharing that his father met Rivera even before he did. “She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend,” McHale adds.
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“How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post?” Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel, begins in his Instagram post. “How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t.”
Rivera’s son had a life vest on him and authorities found another adult life vest on the boat. Josey told rescuers that his mother had gone out for a swim in the water but she didn’t come back up. Rivera’s confirmation of death comes exactly seven years after Cory Monteith, another Glee star, was found dead from drugs and alcohol overdose on July 13, 2013.
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Jane Lynch, who starred as Coach Sue Sylvester on the show, wrote on Twitter “What a force you were.” Lynch was one of the first to pay her respects on social media once news broke that the actress’s body had been recovered.
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Demi Lovato, who played as Rivera’s on-screen girlfriend in Glee for some time, took to Instagram to share a beautiful photo of the actress and snaps of both of them on set. “The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world,” Lovato wrote.
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There are no words and yet so many things I want to say, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to articulate exactly what I feel but… Naya, you were a ⚡️ force and everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room. You shined on stage and screen and radiated with love behind closed doors. I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you’d always be here. Our friendship went in waves as life happens and we grow, so I will not look back and regret but know I love you and promise to help the legacy of your talent, humor, light and loyalty live on. You are so loved. You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already.
“There are no words and yet so many things I want to say, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to articulate exactly what I feel,” Jenna Ushkowitz, who starred as Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee, began in her Instagram tribute. “I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you’d always be here,” she further laments.
Although Rivera’s character on the show was the classic beautiful mean-girl cheerleader, the love from her castmates proves that hers was a warm heart in real life. Her last few moments on this earth, making sure her son was safely on board, proved how strong and fierce of a mother she was.
Now more than ever we must lift her family and friends up especially Josey! My heart is sent to them… Josey you are truly loved by every single person who loves your mommy! I love you Naya!
— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) July 13, 2020
Alex Newell, Unique Adams in Glee, took to Twitter to express his grief while offering words of encouragement for Rivera’s family and friends. He ended the short message with a simple sentence for Rivera’s son: “Josey you are truly loved by every single person who loves your mommy!”
i was so intimided meeting naya for the first time. i was a fish out of water and her warmth was disarming. for all her gifts as a performer she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included.
celebrating your mark on the world today🕊🤍 pic.twitter.com/h5lJ1pcCiW
— Jacob Artist (@jacobartist) July 14, 2020
Jacob Artist, who played Jake Puckerman, shared a photo of him, Heather Morris, and Rivera on the set of Glee. “For all her gifts as a performer, she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included,” he writes.
It wasn’t only her castmates and colleagues that were pouring out their love on social media. Rivera’s fans shared their love for the late actress in words and photos that will break anyone’s heart.
the saddest day for the glee fans and glee family. these two will be forever in our hearts. thank you cory and naya for being such amazing people and for teaching us so many things, not just with your characters, but for being yourselves. I love you guys forever🤍 pic.twitter.com/uEPLn63GTS
— rafaela🧚✨🪐🧸 (@rafaelaatiso) July 14, 2020
can’t stop thinking about how Naya Rivera brought us a queer female character on mainstream tv in a time when that was v rare. she helped so many women accept themselves, saved countless lives, and then spent her last mins saving her son’s life too. rip naya you did so much good.
— Lane Moore (@hellolanemoore) July 14, 2020
Naya used her last breath, her last bit of energy, her last few moments alive to save Josey. She saved his life & died just as an amazing mother & the hero she was every single day to that little boy. #nayarivera The whole world needs to know her love for this son of hers. pic.twitter.com/VzivZkiq0y
— Muhammad Taqi (@IamTaqiZ) July 14, 2020
Crying over someone I’ve never met but I feel so heartbroken. She was a beautiful soul. I cannot begin to describe the impact that Naya Rivera has had on my life. Through her portrayal of Santana, I was able to accept myself for who I am.
Rest in Peace, Naya Rivera. 1987-2020. pic.twitter.com/bsh7wTMb0p
— kkyle. (@qyleeeei) July 14, 2020
Rivera’s most iconic songs sung as Santana Lopez was also posted on Twitter. Relieve her performances during “Valerie,” “Songbird,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” and “The Boy is Mine.” — 8List.ph