Glee cast lead tributes to Naya Rivera following her death

14 July 2020, 11:31

Amber Riley shares heartbreaking video of Naya Rivera singing with son Josey

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum Jr. and more have paid tribute to their friend and co-star Naya.

The Glee cast are sharing tributes to their former co-star Naya Rivera, after it was confirmed that she had died at the age of 33.

After days of searching, it was confirmed yesterday (July 13) that a body found in Lake Piru, where she went missing last week (July 8), was that of Naya. Naya was declared missing after her four-year-old son, Josey, was found alone and asleep on a boat. In a conference at Lake Piru yesterday (July 13), Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said that Naya’s son told investigators that his mother had helped him get into the boat after going swimming.

With the sad confirmation of her death, Naya’s co-stars, friends and fans are all sharing their condolences and memories of the talented star on social media.

Naya Rivera's Glee co-stars lead tributes following news of her death
Naya Rivera's Glee co-stars lead tributes following news of her death. Picture: David Livingston/Getty Images, @chriscolfer via Instagram

Naya's Glee cast mates including Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum Jr., Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Lauren Potter, Lea Michele, Melissa Benoist, Alex Newell, Kristin Chenoweth, Becca Tobin and many more have all shared tributes and condolences on social media.

In a tweet shared by the official Glee Twitter account, the show pays tribute to Naya in a statement made by FOX: "Naya 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 her family, friends and young son."

Read the cast's tributes to Naya below:

View this 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. 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

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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.

A post shared by Melissa Benoist (@melissabenoist) on

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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. ❤️

A post shared by Becca Tobin (@becca) on

Naya Rivera’s Glee co-star Vanessa Lengies pays tribute to her

Lea Michele also shared a photo of Naya on her Instagram stories, alongside a photo of Cory Monteith, who tragically passed away 7 years ago.

As well as the Glee cast, Naya's friends and former co-stars also shared their memories and condolences on social media.

Writing about her guest role on Glee as Santana Lopez's girlfriend, Demi Lovato thanked Naya for bringing a groundbreaking character like Santana to life on-screen: "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..."

Demi's sentiments were echoed by fans of the show on Twitter, who all thanked Naya for her portrayal.

Read the tributes shared below by Naya's friends and peers:

Our thoughts are with Naya's family and friends.