Naya Rivera’s corpse was found on Monday after days of searching for it in Lake Piru in Ventura County, CA. A report against her was filed after she got missing while boating on the lake with her son, Josey, on July 8.
During a press conference, investigators stated that Naya and her son may have been caught in a strong current while swimming, and that they believed “she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
Naya is widely recognised for her role as Santana Lopez on the hit show ‘Glee’. She was a woman of multiple hats being a singer and actor, and her portrayal of a young lesbian coming out in the open, falling in love, and getting married filled hopes to many in the LGBTQ+ community.
The creators of Glee — Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter commemorating Naya’s valuable contributions to the show. It was also announced that they are in the process of setting up a college fund for 4-year-old Josey. They added:
“Naya wasn’t a series regular when we cast her on Glee,” they wrote in their joint statement. “She didn’t have more than a few lines in the pilot. But it didn’t take more than an episode or two for us to realize that we had lucked into finding one of the most talented, special stars we would ever have the pleasure of working with.”
They also spoke highly of Naya’s pathbreaking performance, and revealed her undying dedication of narrating Santana and Brittany’s love story with “humor and humanity.”
“It was one of the first times an openly lesbian, high school relationship was seen on network television and Naya understood what ‘Brittana’ meant to the many young women who were seeing themselves represented on television for the first time. Naya always made sure that Santana’s love for Brittany was expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions.”
“Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the Glee family, and her son Josey,” they concluded. “The three of us are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.”
In their respective statements, many other members of the Glee team have expressed their heartfelt messages to honor Naya by looking out for Josey. Amber Riley wrote on Instagram: “Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything.”
“You are so loved,” Jenna Ushkowitz wrote in an Instragram tribute to Naya. “You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that every day.”
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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.
“We will make sure to keep your legacy and spirit alive so Josey will grow up to know the incredible woman you were,” Harry Shum Jr. wrote in his statement.