After Glee star Naya Rivera’s body was found in Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, on Monday morning, her co-stars from the Fox musical comedy-drama started paying tribute to the actress on social media. Rivera played the role of Santana Lopez for six seasons.
Rivera went missing on Wednesday, July 8, during a boating trip with her four-year-old son, Josey, and was presumed dead hours into the search and she was found on day six. She was 33-years-old.
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My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. • 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. • She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim. The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more. • I’m thankful for all the ways in which she made me a better person. She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always. I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her weeks before I did and when I got Glee, he told me to “look out for a girl named Naya because she seemed nice.” Well dad, she was nice and she became one of my favorite people ever. • If you were fortunate enough to have known her, you’ll know that her most natural talent of all was being a mother. The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful. I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy back on that boat. I’m thankful he will have a strong family around him to protect him and tell him about his incredible mom. I just hope more than anything that her family is given the space and time to come to terms with this. For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us – those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee.
Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) wrote on Instagram that he “legitimately can not imagine this world” without Rivera.
“She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim,” recalled McHale. “The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more.”
Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) admitted that he was “failing miserably to process this news.” Shum said that he always imagined their “old future senior moments” when they would hear Rivera’s infectious laughter down the hall and know that they were in for a treat.
Shum called Rivera the “life of the party,” and a “shining friend” who was always willing to listen, offer sympathy and perspective, and ,at times, give much needed levity to any situation. He added that she was “a beast” on Glee who would “nail multi page monologues” and pour her heart into every performance.
“You deserved more. … We will make sure to keep your legacy and spirit alive so Josey will grow up to know the incredible woman you were. Love you, Naya,” wrote Shum.
Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose) wrote that Rivera had not left her mind this week, and it was difficult to find words.
“There was an undeniable beauty that she radiated inside and out, and I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got to witness that up close even for the short period of time that I did,” wrote Benoist.
Special Olympics advocate Lauren Potter (Becky Jackson) wrote “Cheerios Forever,” and American Idol alum Adam Lambert (Elliott Gilbert) tweeted: “RIP Naya.”
Mike O’Malley (Burt Hummel) described Naya Rivera as “hilarious” and shared that “she lit up the set” and was “the definition of cool.”
Ashley Fink (Lauren Zizes) said that she held hands with Rivera during every Glee tour performance, and that was something she looked forward to “every. single. time.”
“This is just too much. It doesn’t seem possible that such a one of a kind, beautiful, smart, witty, hilarious force of nature could be gone so soon. My thoughts and all my love are with her family and beautiful son. Heartbroken,” wrote Fink.
Demi Lovato (Dani) wrote on Instagram that she would forever cherish the opportunity to play Rivera’s girlfriend on Glee, and the character of Santana Lopez was “groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like met at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world.”
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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. She played by her own rules and was in a class of her own. She had a brashness about her that I couldn’t help but be enchanted by. I also always loved her voice, and savored every chance I got to hear her sing. I think she had more talent than we would have ever been able to see. I was constantly moved by the degree to which she took care of her family, and how she looked out for her friends. She showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to, and I was always so grateful for her friendship then, as I certainly am now. 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. Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel.
Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson) described Rivera as “bold,” “outrageous,” and “a LOT of fun.” He explained that she made him laugh like no one else on set, and her “playful, wicked sense of humor” never ceased to bring a smile to his face.
Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) posted a video of Naya Rivera with her son, and wrote in the caption that she was her “favorite duet partner.”
“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,” wrote Riley.