Naya Rivera: Glee stars' moving tributes following tragedy

The shock of Naya Rivera's passing has taken the world by surprise

naya rivera glee

The shock of Naya Rivera's passing has taken the world by surprise

Words by Chantel Pereira: This year has been unimaginably hard for so many, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now former Glee star Naya Rivera has died in a tragic boat accident - causing an outpour of heartfelt tributes.

The American actress, known for playing the fiery role of Santana Lopez on the hit TV series, passed away on July 8 in an unexpected and truly saddening accident. The 33-year-old had gone boating with her son, Josey, in Lake Piru California, and the Sheriff’s department of Ventura County reported that the child was found asleep in the boat with Rivera missing.

Naya Rivera Glee

Naya starred on the hit TV show Glee, pictured here with Lea Michele in 2010 (Getty Images)

This launched a search party for Rivera and on Monday, the Sheriff’s department confirmed that the body they recovered was indeed Rivera’s.

Naya Rivera Glee

Naya's body was found at Lake Piru in California (Getty Images)

The news has left Rivera’s family, friends and fans absolutely devastated. Many of her Glee co-stars and family members were pictured standing hand-in-hand at Lake Piru, where her body was found.

Her Glee co-stars have shared their love for the actress online.

Jane Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester on Glee, wrote, 'Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.'

Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams, shared a picture with Naya on Instagram and took to Twitter to say, 'I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her years 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.'

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Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel on Glee posted a throwback picture of the two of them with the caption, 'Her brilliance and humour were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness.'

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Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones, shared a sweet video of the late actress and her son singing the children’s song, ‘Skidamarink’. Her caption read, 'I love you. I miss you. 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.'

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Demi Lovato, who guest-starred on the widely successful show, paid tribute to the actress on her Twitter by sharing stills of her role as Santana’s girlfriend on the show.

The singer praised Rivera’s performance on Glee, stating that it was a monumental contribution to the LGBTQ+ community. Demi wrote, '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.'

Not only was Naya Rivera remembered for her portrayal of a Latin and LGBT character on television, she was also remembered for her immense talent. Many heartbroken fans have reposted her performances from Glee. In particular, the song If I Die Young, which is extremely moving to watch.

Olivia – who rebranded as Liv a few years ago – is a freelance digital writer at Marie Claire UK. She recently swapped guaranteed sunshine and a tax-free salary in Dubai for London’s constant cloud and overpriced public transport. During her time in the Middle East, Olivia worked for international titles including Cosmopolitan, HELLO! and Grazia. She transitioned from celebrity weekly magazine new! in London, where she worked as the publication’s Fitness & Food editor. Unsurprisingly, she likes fitness and food, and also enjoys hoarding beauty products and recycling.