Hollywood is mourning the loss of Glee star Naya Rivera, whose body was found on the morning of Monday, July 13 after the actress went missing in Lake Piru, in California, last week. The actress was first reported missing after her 4-year-old son was discovered alone on a boat on the evening of Wednesday, July 8.
Rivera is the third Glee cast member to die under tragic circumstances. Cory Monteith, who played Finn, died of a drug overdose in 2013 after a battle with addiction, and Mark Salling, who played Puck, died by suicide in 2018. Some of Rivera's former Glee cast members posted on Twitter and Instagram when the actress first went missing, hoping for her safe return. Now, many have made mournful posts about her unexpected passing.
Heather Morris, who played Rivera's on-screen love interest on Glee, posted a sweet picture of her and Naya's children playing together to commemorate her friend. "You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life," Morris wrote. "I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I'm showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I."
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We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase. However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding. The last I had the chance to see you in person, I had left oranges outside our home for you to take. I wanted to say hi through the window but my phone didn’t ring when you called (which it never does, f*cking T-Mobile), so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you. I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you. I still listen to your EP on repeat because from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice. You sent me over 5 dozen SnapChat videos when you and Josey woke up in the morning and I kick myself that I didn’t save one of them. You always shared recipes and I admired your love for food. We vowed to spend every Easter together, even though Covid stole this last one from us. You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life. You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (but still somehow respectful ). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen..you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted. We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures...our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I. I speak to you everyday because I know you’re still with me and even though I’m feeling greedy that we don’t get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart.
Chris Colfer wrote an incredibly touching note on Instagram accompanying a picture of himself and Rivera, with the caption, "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. Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son."
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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. 💔 Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son.
Jenna Ushkowitz also shared on Instagram, "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... 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."
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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.
Darren Criss tweeted a beautiful thread on Twitter about Naya's wonderful sense of humor, writing, "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... Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel."
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.
Kevin McHale posted a similar thread in tribute to his friend, writing, "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."
My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. pic.twitter.com/qX9t1Uhx01— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Dianna Agron, Harry Shum Jr., Amber Riley, Melissa Benoist, Jane Lynch, Demi Lovato, Josh Sussman, and Becca Tobin, among others also posted touching tributes to their friend and former castmate on social media.
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Naya and I fell into stride with such ease, she was my first friend and ally on our show. In the pilot, our characters came and went with such swiftness. Our enthusiasm brimmed with all of the unknown. We tried to grasp what the other cast members must be feeling as we were working in such separate manners. We dared to dream. What if this show worked? Wouldn’t that be something? Something was brimming, it was palpable. And thank god it worked. Naya’s magnetic talent was going to be unleashed, we just didn’t know it yet. I’ve been revisiting Naya’s performances on our show and it has brought me great joy. To work with her was a gift. There was a great deal to absorb - her work ethic, her fearlessness, her talent - supreme. Naya had a laugh that would envelop you and hold you captive. She was mesmerizing. That twinkle in her eye, her luminous smile. Naya lead with truth, humor, wit. I loved her for all of these reasons. I loved her sense of curiosity and wanderlust. I was lucky enough to be her travel partner for some of my most favorite adventures. As I write this, I’m grinning with swelling memories of a spontenaous 36 hour excursion - one might even say diversion - to Paris. With Naya, everything was possible and would often simply unfold before us, almost magically. On this particular jaunt, within ten minutes of checking into our hotel, we found ourselves strolling the halls of L'École des Beaux-Arts, sipping wine from paper cups with students showcasing their latest work. It was fantastic. We were united in our commitment to discovery. And there was always a list of cleverly curated ideas in Naya’s back pocket, should we need it. I cannot make sense of this tremendous loss. I will hold onto her and these memories for the rest of time, alongside our Glee family. Please hold space for her, her family, her beautiful boy. In absolute, loving memory.
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She has not left my mind this last week. It’s 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. I was so intimidated by her, yet she had a way of disarming that just made you want to be around her, hear what she had to say (because it would undoubtedly be the sharpest and most real thing you would hear all day). She was kind and open to me when she didn’t have to be, when I was a naive, clueless and insecure newcomer. Bravely authentic, genuinely kind, incredibly talented and deeply loved by so many. Thinking of her family and loved ones. Rest In Peace, Naya.
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
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 (at the time) queer girls like me, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. pic.twitter.com/oCML03M9Kw— Team Demi (@ddlovato) July 14, 2020
💔 Naya, you will be missed so much. 😞— Josh Sussman (@JoshSussman) July 13, 2020
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This loss is truly unimaginable. As many people have stated, Naya was a force. I was intimidated by her talent and presence on set, but she was always so kind and welcoming to me. So many of my Glee memories on and off set have Naya in them. She was one of a kind. My heart breaks for her family and friends. I’ll always keep Naya in my heart and remember her for the strong, talented and compassionate person she was to me in the brief time I got to spend with her. Sending so much strength and love to her family and everyone who’s heart is breaking over this tragic loss.
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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. ❤️
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
💔😭😭💔😭💔😭💔😭💔😭— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
So much grief today. Grateful for our love and connection. Holding everyone tight. Family for lifetimes.— Vanessa Lengies (@littlelengies) July 13, 2020
💔— iqbal theba (@iqbaltheba) July 13, 2020
Just unbelievable. Grateful to have known you and worked with you and your talent. RIP Naya. ❤️— Damian Mc Ginty (@damianmcginty) July 13, 2020
Naya brought so much joy to our lives. She had the sharpest wit, the slyest smile, a compassion for people from all walks of life, and a talent that knew no bounds. My deepest condolences to her family, friends, co-workers, and fans around the world. We love you so much, Naya.— Michael Hitchcock (@hitchmichael) July 13, 2020
Other cast members tweeted earlier in the week, before Rivera's body was found, speaking out against expectations of "performative" grief. "Show some respect. All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family," Amber Riley wrote. "No one owes anyone online a performance of grief. This is very real and devastating. Focus on Naya and her family. Not us. We don't matter right now."
"I cannot begin to understand what Naya's family must be feeling. I know the rest of us are completely shattered, but not without hope. Please respect her family & their privacy in this moment. Please refrain from judging those who don't show their pain on social media," Kevin McHale added.
I cannot begin to understand what Naya’s family must be feeling. I know the rest of us are completely shattered, but not without hope. Please respect her family & their privacy in this moment. Please refrain from judging those who don’t show their pain on social media. ♥️ https://t.co/DXsUj3qdCh— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 12, 2020
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 💔
This is absolutely heartbreaking. Sending love and holding space for her son and loved ones. https://t.co/7RkKnj4xU7— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) July 13, 2020
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Naya Rivera.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 13, 2020
The talent and depth Naya brought to her characters inspired millions. As a Latina, it‘s rare to have rich, complex characters reflect us in media. Naya worked hard to give that gift to so many.
Que descanse en paz.
I'll never be able to articulate the importance of seeing Naya, a Black Puerto Rican, portraying a queer Afro-Latina on primetime TV. I'm heartbroken over all the stories that will remain untold. #RIPNayaRivera pic.twitter.com/UGq2rDwWay— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) 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— Kehlani (@Kehlani) July 13, 2020
God cover and hold her loved ones!
Rest In Peace and power, Naya. 😔💔— Janel Parrish Long (@JanelParrish) July 13, 2020
This is an absolute nightmare. I had the pleasure of having dinner with her once after a recording session we did together and she was an absolute sweetheart. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I hope I’m lucky enough to meet you up in heaven. Rest In Peace Naya Rivera— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) July 13, 2020