Naya Rivera: Glee stars’ moving tributes following tragedy

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  • 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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    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 got 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.

    A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

    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.’

    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.’

    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.



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