Naya Rivera's family release heartbreaking statement after actress' tragic death

Francesca Shillcock

The family of Naya Rivera have released an official statement after her tragic death by drowning at the age of 33. The actress' body was found on Monday 13 July, five days after she was declared missing at Lake Piru in California following a boat trip with her four-year-old son, Josey.

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Naya Rivera sadly died on 8 July in California

The Glee star, who was known for playing the role of Santana Lopez in the popular musical show for six years, was remembered by her family as an "angel" and a "beautiful legend", as they thanked authorities for their "unwavering effort" to find her body.

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The family released a statement of thanks for love and prayers

The statement, released by the family to Deadline, read: "We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister."

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It continued: "Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support. Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time."

The statement came shortly before it was reported that Californian authorities confirmed Naya died as a result of drowning. "The cause of death is drowning, and the manner of death is accident," the Ventura County's Medical Examiner said. "No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy. There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role in the decedent's death, but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing."

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