Rivera was pronounced dead on Monday, as her body was discovered following a five-day search. She was reported missing last Wednesday after she took a boat ride with her 4-year-old son, Josey, in Lake Piru in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, California. The Sheriff's Department told NBCLA that Rivera and her son rented a boat at around 1 p.m. but approximately three hours later, another boater discovered Josey in the boat by himself. TMZ reported that Josey told authorities that his mother went into the water for a swim, but never returned to the boat.
Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on Glee, was just 33 years old. Both her famous friends and fans are speaking out about the tragedy, including her Glee co-stars.
Chris Colfer, who portrayed Kurt Hummel on Glee, wrote, "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," he concluded.
"My heart is broken," Alex Newell, who played Unique Adams, wrote. "I truly had soo much fun filming this little segment... we both clearly didn’t wanna be there but made the most of it! Naya was truly a star.. one day as I was coming out of hair and make up I saw her sitting at base camp and she said “Alex... when you go on tour can you please say ‘everybody say heeeyy Ms. Newell’’ just for me!” I said absolutely we laughed and had a short little convo about life and music.. I’ll cherish that moment for ever!! I watched her preform with such power, brilliance, and honesty.. While being a light as a person! The love she had for her family and friends was always clear! She will truly be missed! Josey you are loved by all the people who love your mother! My thoughts and prayers are with her family! Rest Sweet Angel."
Becca Tobin, who played Kitty Wilde, wrote, "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. ❤️."
Kevin McHale shared an emotional tribute, alongside a photo of himself and Rivera smiling and standing side by side. "My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you," McHale wrote. "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," McHale's tribute continued, in part. "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 tweeted that he felt Monteith had a part in finding Rivera. "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," the 32-year-old actor, who played Artie Abrams on Glee, wrote. "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."
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. https://t.co/qsvThOJxL7
While Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry on the Fox series, did not post a message about Rivera, she did share a never-before-seen photo of her Glee co-star on her Instagram Story.
As for Dianna Agron, who portrayed Quinn Fabray on Glee, she shared a photo of her and Rivera on Instagram, writing in part, "I cannot make sense of this tremendous loss. I will hold onto her and these memories for the rest of time, alongside our Glee family. Please hold space for her, her family, her beautiful boy. In absolute, loving memory."
Amber Riley, who was Mercedes Jones on the Fox series, posted a video of Rivera and her son singing. "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," she captioned the video.
I only got to meet #NayaRivera a few times, but each time she looked me right in the eye, was fully present and laughed whole-heartedly. I adored her. I’m heartbroken for her family. Let’s all send them love. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WHyson17el
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. #RIPNayaRiverapic.twitter.com/UGq2rDwWay
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
I didn’t know Naya personally, but I admired her as an artist. I’m so devastated by the news - a true talent lost far too soon. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to her family. 💞 XoP #RipNayaRivera
“Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do 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." (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Enq77UmNly
Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera’s family, especially her young child. She was a vibrant and luminous talent who will always remain a very special part of our ‘Step Up’ family. Her memory will be carried on through her lasting contributions to our industry. pic.twitter.com/Ypb2YXmNCP
Naya was an extremely talented performer that i got the pleasure of working with. The only thing that rivaled her acting abilities, was her incredible voice. I am extremely saddened to hear the news about someone who had such a positive impact on so many peoples lives. 😢