Naya Rivera, the Grammy-nominated singer and Glee actress, was pronounced dead on Monday at the age of 33. Her body was recovered in Lake Piru in Ventura Country, California on Monday, five days after she first went missing.
As The Daily Mail reports, a few Glee cast members, including Heather Morris, joined Rivera’s family at the lake early Monday morning. Together, they held hands on shore as they waited for confirmation of the identity of the body.
In the wake of her passing, several other colleagues have offered their thoughts and condolences. Jane Lynch, her longtime Glee co-star, tweeted: “Rest Sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”
Darren Criss, who also worked with Rivera on Glee, tweeted: “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.”
Other former cast members similarly followed suit, including Jenna Ushkowitz, who wrote a very emotional post on Instagram: “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.”
Chris Colfer echoed those sentiments, writing: “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.”
20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment, who produced Glee, released 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.”
A number of other fellow colleagues and celebrities have also paid their respects to the young star and mother, including Viola Davis, Josh Gad, Kehlani, Kathy Griffin, Lea Michelle (via IG Stories), Kevin McHale, Alex Newell, Max Adler, Kitty Wilde, and many, many more. It’s an emotional roundup, which we’ve collected for you below.
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
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
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
“Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do 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." (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Enq77UmNly
— FOX (@FOXTV) July 13, 2020
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 13, 2020
the reason songbird by fleetwood mac is one of my favorite songs ever is because of the glee soundtrack version. she transformed it. 🙏🏼 Rest Easy Naya Rivera
God cover and hold her loved ones!
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) July 13, 2020
I had the opportunity to work with the one and only #nayarivera. So much talent. Deeply saddened and touched. Please, let her have peace, Lord. 💔💔💔
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) July 13, 2020
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
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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.
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Naya was insanely talented, breathtakingly gorgeous, and one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met, but the legacy she left behind for me is her kindness. I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified. The cast was already such a tight-knit group who had been working incredibly hard together for over three years to make it a hit show and I never expected any of them to have time for me. To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness. She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice. She was a superstar who had nothing to gain from being kind to the new girl, but she was and that changed this new girl’s entire experience on that show. I will forever be grateful to that beautiful human. My heart goes out to her family and her sweet boy. ❤️