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Former Glee star Naya Rivera has died at the age of 33 at Lake Piru in California. She had been missing for several days before her body was recovered, and her death was confirmed on Monday, July 13. Her tragic disappearance brought her loved ones to the lake, with her family on the scene over the weekend. Her former Glee cast members joined hands to honor her alongside members of her family on the morning of July 13. Take a look:
According to an ABC7 broadcast in Los Angeles, Naya Rivera's friends (including members of the Glee cast) joined members of her family around Lake Piru before news that a body had been recovered. Rivera's death had not been confirmed when the group was spotted with joined hands on the shore of the lake. Although it's not clear how many members of the cast (many of whom had shared hopeful messages after Rivera's initial disappearance) were present with Rivera's family, Heather Morris and Amber Riley both appear to be in the group.
Heather Morris and Amber Riley, who respectively played Brittany Pierce and Mercedes Jones on Glee, had both been active on social media with messages regarding Naya Rivera's disappearance prior to the recovery of her body. Morris responded to the Ventura County Sheriff's department on Twitter early on July 12 to reveal that she was "trying to conduct an on foot search and rescue mission along with a small group of friends" at the lake, saying that they felt "helpless" and "powerless."
Later that day, the Ventura County Sheriff's department account posted a message discouraging citizens from searching, citing the closed lake, high temperatures, and dangerous terrain. Heather Morris subsequently followed up by saying that she has "full confidence" that all available resources are being used to locate Naya Rivera after talking with the sheriff, and that they would "hold off on the citizen search and rescue" until volunteers are allowed.
For her part, Amber Riley took to Twitter to ask people to "show some respect," because all of their energy "is going toward helping find Naya," also on July 12. Naya Rivera's body was recovered on July 13, reportedly in the northeastern portion of Lake Piru. It is believed that Rivera drowned.
Naya Rivera disappeared on Wednesday, July 8, after she didn't return with a boat she rented for a trip out onto the lake with her four-year-old son, Josey. The boat was recovered that day with Josey sleeping on board, wearing a life vest. Rivera herself could not be found, and recovery efforts continued for several days before the discovery of her body.
Prior to the recovery of Naya Rivera's body, a petition began to circulate calling for changes at Lake Piru, stating that Rivera is "not the first" person to go missing at the lake, which is deep with "very bad whirlpools." The goal of the petition was for signs to go up at the lake to warn swimmers, as tourists would be unfamiliar with the risks.
Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the family, friends, and loved ones of Naya Rivera in this difficult time.