Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer and More Hollywood Stars Pay Tribute to Naya Rivera
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The 'Glee' actress' life and career were celebrated by former co-stars and stars such as Mandy Moore, Viola Davis and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Naya Rivera, the Grammy-nominated singer and actress best known for her role as Santana Lopez on Glee, was declared dead Monday at the age of 33. 

A body was recovered Monday at Lake Piru in Southern California, the site where actress went missing last Wednesday while boating with her 4-year-old son. Divers recovered the body around 9:30 a.m. floating on the surface of the water, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. 

Sheriff Ayub confirmed the body recovered was that of Rivera's during a Monday press conference. "Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fans during this difficult time. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of her death," they tweeted. 

Rivera's 4-year-old son told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming in the lake, and she helped him get back in the boat, but saw Rivera disappear under the surface of the water. Rivera's son, whose father is Ryan Dorsey, was reported to be unharmed. 

Following the news, Hollywood figures have taken to social media to pay tribute to the actress, whose career broke out in 2009 on Ryan Murphy's mega-hit Fox musical dramedy Glee, playing snarky cheerleader Santana Lopez. Following her role on the musical comedy-drama series, Rivera had a recurring role on the Lifetime drama series Devious Maids. She most recently starred opposite Ne-Yo on the TV update of Step Up, which recently moved from its former home at YouTube to premium cable network Starz for its second season. 

A body presumed to be Rivera's was recovered on the seven-year anniversary of the death of Glee star Cory Monteith, who died July 13, 2013, from a drug overdose. 

"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," 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment, which produced Glee, said of Rivera in a statement sent to THR. 

"Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera’s family, especially her young child, in response to the tragic news of her passing," Starz and Lionsgate said in a statement. "She was a vibrant and luminous talent who will always remain a very special part of our Step Up family. Her remarkable contributions to our industry created a lasting memory that will be carried forward by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her."

Jane Lynch, who starred alongside Rivera on Glee as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, paid tribute to the actress on Twitter writing, "Rest Sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family." 

Chris Colfer, who starred in Glee as Kurt Hummel, wrote on Instagram: "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." 

Glee's Jenna Ushkowitz, who portrayed Tina Cohen-Chang on the Fox series, wrote: "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."

She continued: "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." 

Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams on Glee, took to Instagram to write about how he "cannot imagine this world" without Rivera. 

"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."

Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on the show, posted on Instagram, "My favorite duet partner. 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."

Lea Michele, Glee's Rachel Berry, paid tribute to both Rivera and Monteith, whom she dated before his passing, on her Instagram stories. Michele posted black and white images of both Rivera and Monteith on set. 

Alex Newell, who would join the show in later seasons — after participating in reality show The Glee Project — as Glee continued to make featuring LGBTQ characters a top priority, tweeted, "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!"

Later, Newell posted a video of an advertisement with Rivera for Fox and remembered, "I truly had soo much fun filming this little segment ... we both clearly didn’t wanna be there but made the most of it!"

Becca Tobin, Glee's cheerleader Kitty Wilde, wrote of Rivera: "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." After feeling "intimidated and terrified" joining the show in the third season, Tobin says, "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," she wrote. 

Max Adler, who played football player Dav Karofsky on Glee, also paid tribute, posting several broken heart and crying emojis. Glee actor Joshua Sussman, who portrayed Jacob Ben Israel, wrote: "Naya, you will be missed so much."

Melissa Benoist, who joined Glee in later seasons and now stars on The CW's Supergirl, posted a tribute late Monday on Instagram: "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 wrote.

See more tributes below. 

Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.

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.

This is absolutely heartbreaking. Sending love and holding space for her son and loved ones. https://t.co/7RkKnj4xU7

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

My favorite duet partner. 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.

A post shared by Amber Riley (@msamberpriley) on

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.

A post shared by Chris Colfer (@chriscolfer) on

 

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

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.

A post shared by Jenna Ushkowitz (@jennaushkowitz) on

Sick to my stomach. RIP #nayarivera https://t.co/OYwWQMgCoh

Naya Rivera will be missed so much by so many. She was a friend of GLAAD and even hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice. She was kind, gracious, and personally used her platforms and voice to tell LGBTQ youth that they are loved. Our hearts are with her loved ones.pic.twitter.com/FBL2wy6PQm

Prayers for Naya Rivera's family. Man....can we have a "Do Over " of 2020. The loss is too much

A post shared by VIOLA DAVIS (@violadavis) on

 

 

Watching Naya Rivera cover our song on Glee will always be one of our favorite memories from our time as a band. She touched so many lives with her beautiful voice. Our hearts go out to her son & her family. Rest easy.

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.

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. /a>

A post shared by Becca Tobin (@becca) on

Naya Rivera was truly a light and showed us all how to be unapologetically ourselves. We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and fans in this difficult time. Rest in peace, #NayaRivera pic.twitter.com/jmkJRFXMKs

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.
Hold on tight to your people right now, if you’re lucky enough to be near them

Descansa en paz Naya... pic.twitter.com/jPFjKDmgu2

Naya was sweet, smart, funny and endlessly talented. This is just awful.

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 queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time..

https://t.co/AYXkC8B04n

I am truly heartbroken to hear of the confirmed loss of this amazingly talented woman.

I have watched her shine since she was a little girl on #TheRoyalFamily. She deserved to have a long life full of every good thing. I’m gutted that that will never be.#RIPNayaRiverahttps://t.co/jgBma9JH3q

Tragic loss#TeamDL #RIPNayaRivera #Repost @balleralert with @get_repost
・・・
Body Recovered in Search for Naya Rivera at Lake Piru - written by @MsJennyb_

The body of “Glee” actress… https://t.co/do7aSnE47Z

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

Praying for Naya Rivera, Kelly Preston & Benjamin Keough’s families right now. Please take a moment to think of them today

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!

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!

Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you. pic.twitter.com/CFNmwgtSva

Beautiful memories boricua. RIP. pic.twitter.com/mhqUEJh8rq

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.

A post shared by Melissa Benoist (@melissabenoist) on

From: THR