Naya Rivera's former Glee castmates and celebrity friend have paid tribute to the star after a body found by search teams in Lake Piru was confirmed to belong to her.
The 33-year-old was reported missing last Wednesday, and last night Ventura County Sheriff's Office confirmed they believed it to be Naya. Tributes immediately appeared online from the actresses' friends and former colleagues, with Jane Lynch - who played cheer coach Sue Sylvester on the show - leading the way.
"Rest Sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family," she wrote online.
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment, which produced Glee, said in a 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."
Chris Colfer, who starred in Glee as Kurt Hummel, wrote on Instagram: "How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarise a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t. Her brilliance and humour 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 honour and a suit of armour. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be."
And Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on the show, posted: "My favourite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything."
Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry in Glee, posted a tribute to both Naya and fellow co-star Cory Monteith, who also tragically passed away seven years ago, on her Instagram stories.
While Demi Lovato wrote: "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."
It feels strange to cry and mourn the loss of someone you never knew. But I grew up watching Glee- and Naya Rivera was such a beautiful talent. My heart breaks for her son.— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) July 13, 2020
Hold on tight to your people right now, if you’re lucky enough to be near them 💔
Naya Rivera was truly a light and showed us all how to be unapologetically ourselves. We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and fans in this difficult time. Rest in peace, #NayaRivera pic.twitter.com/jmkJRFXMKs— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) 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
She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun.— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) July 14, 2020
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.
Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you. pic.twitter.com/CFNmwgtSva— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) July 13, 2020
😢Such a devastating and tragic passing. I am so sorry/heartbroken for Nayas friends and family. I will continue to pray for healing and strength during this horrific time. 💔 2020 has been too heavy 💔— Khloé (@khloekardashian) July 14, 2020
It is thought Naya used her final moments to save her son, Josey, after they got into tthe water. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said: "We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared.
"The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back into the boat, but not enough to save herself."
Our thoughts are with her family and friends.
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