- On Monday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that “Glee” star Naya Rivera was found dead in Lake Piru, California.
- Authorities said they were “confident” that the body was Rivera’s and added that there was no indication of foul play or that it was a suicide.
- Since news broke of the actor’s death, celebrities like Jane Lynch, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ashley Benson have shared reactions on social.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On Monday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that her body was found in Lake Piru, California, five days after she went missing. Sheriff Bill Ayub said that the body was found floating near the surface of the water in the northern portion of the lake, with no indication of foul play or that this was a suicide.
Rivera rented a pontoon boat on Wednesday for her and 4-year-old son Josey, who was found alone on the boat hours later. Authorities said they were “confident” that the body discovered was Rivera’s and it will be positively identified after an autopsy is performed in Ventura. The autopsy will also determine the cause of death.
Reactions regarding the death of Rivera, known for her portrayal of cheerleader and New Directions member Santana Lopez, started appearing on social media hours before the official briefing due to a report from TMZ.
ABC 7 also shared footage earlier in the day that showed “Glee” stars gathered at Lake Piru and holding hands.
The day Rivera’s body was found also marked the seventh anniversary of the death of costar Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), who died of an overdose in July 2013 at 31 years old.
With the confirmation from the sheriff’s department, many more stars have begun sharing tributes for the actress.
“Glee” star Jane Lynch, who portrayed cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, wrote: “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”
—Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Chris Colfer, who starred as Kurt Hummel, shared a photo of himself and Rivera on Instagram, along with a heartfelt 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,” the actor wrote.
He continued: “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.”
Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) honored Monteith and Rivera with black-and-white photos posted on her Instagram.
Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) shared a lengthy note explaining that he was “failing miserably to process this news.”
“To many people, myself included, you were the life of the party,” the actor wrote. “Not only able to rock when fun was to be had after a long day but that shining friend that was always willing to listen, offer sympathy, perspective and at times, give much-needed levity to any situation.”
—Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) July 14, 2020
Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) called Rivera a “powerful force, in both her personal life and in her work.”
“While so many of us were trying to find our voice, Naya’s was clear and resolute,” he said. “When she spoke, you would embrace every last word. And when she sang, she would let you into her soul.
Morrison added: “Naya was fervent about motherhood and had a steadfast love for Josey. It is that powerful love that ensures us that her story does not end here. I’m confident that her positive influence will be continuously felt, and that her beautiful spirit will carry on in the lives of so many.”
Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) said that he and Rivera recently spoke “about running away to Hawaii,” and “this doesn’t make sense.”
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
McHale also reacted to a video of Rivera and Monteith greeting fans and wrote: “I’m not religious by any means, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn’t help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people.”
—Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce) shared a length message about Rivera on her Instagram and said: “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.”
Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) said that Rivera “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,” the actress wrote.
Dianna Agron, who shared plenty of scenes with Rivera as fellow Cheerio Quinn Fabray, said that the actress “was my first friend and ally on our show.”
”I’ve been revisiting Naya’s performances on our show and it has brought me great joy,” Agron added. “To work with her was a gift. There was a great deal to absorb – her work ethic, her fearlessness, her talent – supreme.”
Chord Overstreet, who joined the show during season two as Sam Evans, vividly recalled his first day on set and how warm Rivera was to him.
“You were one of the first people who made me feel like family when others saw me as an outsider,” he said. “I didn’t know then that you would become my family and that’s just who you were to everyone.. A Mother, Sister, Daughter, and most of all a friend. Your massive heart and bright spark is what carried our entire show, when at times we all felt like giving up.”
Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson) called Rivera “bold,” “outrageous,” and “a LOT of fun.”
”She played by her own rules and was in a class of her own,” he said in posts shared on Instagram and Twitter. “She had a brashness about her that I couldn’t help but be enchanted by. I also always loved her voice, and savored every chance I got to hear her sing. I think she had more talent than we would have ever been able to see.”
Criss added: “I was constantly moved by the degree to which she took care of her family, and how she looked out for her friends. She showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to, and I was always so grateful for her friendship then, as I certainly am now.”
Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) called Rivera her “favorite duet partner” and shared a video of Rivera and Dorsey singing together.
Becca Tobin, who starred as cheerleader Kitty Wilde, called Rivera “insanely talented, breathtakingly gorgeous, and one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met.”
“I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee,” Lovato said. “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.”
Jacob Artist, who joined the show during season four as Jake Puckerman, wrote: “i was so intimided meeting naya for the first time. i was a fish out of water and her warmth was disarming. for all her gifts as a performer she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included.”
“Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist, who played Marley Rose on “Glee,” said: “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.”
Benoist added: “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.”
“The Flash” star Grant Gustin, who joined “Glee” during season three as Warbler member Sebastian Smythe, said: “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.”
Alex Newell, who joined “Glee” during season two as Unique Adams, wrote: “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
Kristin Chenoweth, who guest-starred as April Rhodes on “Glee,” shared a photo previously posted by Rivera and wrote: “Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you.”
Guest star Gwyneth Paltrow recalled having the opportunity to sing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” with Rivera and Heather Morris during season two.
“Getting to sing in this trio with her was such a special moment,” Paltrow said. “I am in utter shock and disbelief that someone so full of life and passion and talent is no longer with us.”
Max George, who appeared on season six as Vocal Adrenaline member Clint, called Rivera’s death “absolutely devastating.”
—Max George (@MaxGeorge) July 13, 2020
“Glee” stars Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins), Max Adler (Dave Karofsky), and Vanessa Lengies (Sugar Motta) also reacted to the news.
—iqbal theba (@iqbaltheba) July 13, 2020
—Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
—Vanessa Lengies (@littlelengies) July 13, 2020
Additional reactions were shared by “Glee” guest stars Peter Facinelli and Kathy Griffin.
—Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) July 13, 2020
NeNe Leakes, who had a recurring role as Roz Washington, wrote: “I wanted you to come home to your baby so bad. This hurts! I will hold the memories close to my heart and remember the good times, the laughs and the way we would cut up on set. Those were fun times!”
Bebe Rexha recalled dining with Rivera after working together in a music studio.
“This is an absolute nightmare,” she wrote. “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
“Frozen” star Josh Gad said that he was “sick to my stomach.”
“Pose” cocreator Steven Canals wrote: “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.”
Singer Kehlani also spoke about how moved she was by Rivera’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” which was performed on season two, episode 19 of “Glee” when Santana opened up to Brittany Pierce about how she felt about her.
—Kehlani (@Kehlani) July 13, 2020
“Riverdale” star Lili Reinhart called the news “heartbreaking” and said that Rivera was a “beautiful talent.”
—Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) July 13, 2020
—Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) July 13, 2020
Additional tributes came from “Pretty Little Liars” alum Ashley Benson, “Black Lightning” star Nafessa Williams, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yvette Nicole Brown (who costarred on “The Royal Family” with Rivera), and more.
—Ashley Benson (@AshBenzo) July 13, 2020
—Nafessa Williams (@NafessaWilliams) July 13, 2020
—Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 13, 2020
—Janel Parrish Long (@JanelParrish) July 13, 2020
—yvette nicole brown (@YNB) July 13, 2020
—Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) July 13, 2020