As confirmation of Naya Rivera’s death spread, her former costars and friends took to Twitter to honor the late actress. She was 33.
Rivera died while on an excursion with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in Ventura County, Calif. last Wednesday. Other visitors had noticed the young boy, Josey, alone in the boat and notified the authorities.
Josey was recovered unharmed. According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Eric Buschow, Josey said he and Rivera went swimming together but he got back in the boat and his mother didn’t. The search for Rivera lasted for five days, with specialist divers and sonar equipment brought in. Authorities confirmed to TheWrap her body was recovered Monday. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Starz and Lionsgate, the network and studio behind the “Step Up” TV adaptation, which Rivera was a lead on at the time of her death, said the following in a joint statement on Monday: “Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera’s family, especially her young child, in response to the tragic news of her passing. She was a vibrant and luminous talent who will always remain a very special part of our ‘Step Up’ family. Her remarkable contributions to our industry created a lasting memory that will be carried forward by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.”
Fox broadcast network and 20th Century Fox Television, the network and studio behind “Glee,” said in a joint statement: “Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy. We are forever grateful for the indelible contribution she made to ‘Glee,’ from the first episode to the last. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts go out to Naya’s family, friends and young son.”
Read the tributes to Naya Rivera below, led by her “Glee” castmates, below. Rivera portrayed Santana Lopez for six seasons on the show.
Amber Riley posted a clip of Rivera and Josey singing, and called her “my favorite duet partner.”
Chris Colfer posted a loving tribute on Instagram, calling Rivera’s beauty and talent otherworldly.
View this post on Instagram
How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one 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. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark. She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be. ???? Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son.
Lea Michelle, who starred as Rachel Berry on the musical series, honored Rivera along with Cory Monteith, who died in 2013 on July 13. She shared three simple, black-and-white photos to her Instagram Story: one of Monteith in a suit, a close-up of Rivera and a group photo on the beach.
Jane Lynch, who played Coach Sue Sylvester, tweeted, “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams on “Glee,” posted a photo of him and Naya, writing, “I legitimately can not imagine this world without you.”
My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. pic.twitter.com/qX9t1Uhx01
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Max Adler, who portrayed football player Dave Karofsky, posted a string of broken heart and crying emojis.
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins, also had a broken heart.
— iqbal theba (@iqbaltheba) July 13, 2020
Added Alex Newell, “Now more than ever we must lift up her family. My heart is sent to them.”
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
Josh Sussman tweeted, “Naya, you will be missed so much.”
???? Naya, you will be missed so much. ????
— Josh Sussman (@JoshSussman) July 13, 2020
Read on for even more tributes:
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
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RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee. 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. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time.. ❤️????
Beautiful Naya Rivera, Rest In Peace. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones. You will be missed & never forgotten. ❤️
— Becky G. (@iambeckyg) July 13, 2020
My beautiful friend Naya. Heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/X1w4Mhp1o1
— Mario Cantone (@macantone) July 13, 2020
My Naya. I became apart of your world through my brother @tahj_mowry. You guys used to hit the pavement auditioning together and booking jobs together. I’ve known your beautiful spirit since the age of 6. You… https://t.co/FC0qjC46ao
— Tia Mowry (@TiaMowry) July 13, 2020
This is an absolute nightmare. I had the pleasure of having dinner with her once after a recording session we did together and she was an absolute sweetheart. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I hope I’m lucky enough to meet you up in heaven. Rest In Peace Naya Rivera
— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) July 13, 2020
Absolutely devastating news about Naya Rivera. Beautiful inside and out. You will be missed greatly. RIP Naya. Thoughts with all her friends and family at this awful time.
— Max George (@MaxGeorge) July 13, 2020
My heart is hearting for Naya Rivera’s family???? That poor baby boy ❤️ #RIPNayaRivera
— JASMINE VILLEGAS (@JASMINEVILLEGAS) July 13, 2020
I didn’t know Naya personally, but I admired her as an artist. I’m so devastated by the news – a true talent lost far too soon. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to her family. ???? XoP #RipNayaRivera
— Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) July 13, 2020
Rest In Peace and power, Naya. ????????
— Janel Parrish Long (@JanelParrish) July 13, 2020
Rip gorgeous naya prayers for your family ???????????????????????????????? https://t.co/zUm5n9joI6
— Garcelle Beauvais (@GarcelleB) July 13, 2020
— Max Ehrich (@maxehrich) July 13, 2020
Rest in Power Naya. May your spirit find peace .
— Ryan Grant (@RyanGrant25) July 13, 2020
????Rest In Heaven, Naya Rivera. Sending so much prayer, love and courage to her family. ???????? pic.twitter.com/w54tci7pFx
— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) July 13, 2020
Naya was also recognized for her contributions to the queer, latinx and immigrant communities
Thank you, Naya Rivera, for being an ally to undocumented immigrants and all immigrants:
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 13, 2020
I'll never be able to articulate the importance of seeing Naya, a Black Puerto Rican, portraying a queer Afro-Latina on primetime TV. I'm heartbroken over all the stories that will remain untold. #RIPNayaRivera pic.twitter.com/UGq2rDwWay
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) July 13, 2020
Naya Rivera will be missed so much by so many. She was a friend of GLAAD and even hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice. She was kind, gracious, and personally used her platforms and voice to tell LGBTQ youth that they are loved. Our hearts are with her loved ones.???? pic.twitter.com/FBL2wy6PQm
— GLAAD (@glaad) July 13, 2020