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Naya Rivera of Glee fame has died at 33. The actress and singer had accumulated legions of fans thanks to her role as Santana Lopez on the musical TV show, and many were hopeful that she would be recovered alive after her initial disappearance, with her former Glee co-stars sharing their hopes and well wishes on social media. Now, in the wake of her death, Chris Colfer and more Glee stars shared reactions to the tragedy.
Naya Rivera was first reported missing after she didn't return with a rented boat on Lake Piru in California on July 9, and a rescue effort was underway. Sadly, the rescue effort turned into a recovery as Rivera was presumed to have drowned, and the murkiness of the Lake Piru waters meant that searchers didn't have a lot to go on. Rivera's body was found on July 13 after several days of searching, and the Ventura County Sheriff's Department revealed that her last act may have been saving her 4-year-old son, who was alive on the boat when it was found.
The Glee cast was already out for Naya Rivera prior to the discovery of her body, as proved by a photo of her former cast members standing hand-in-hand with her family on the banks of Lake Piru. Many cast members took to social media with emotional messages, including those who started with her in the very first season of Glee, including Chris Colfer. He played Kurt Hummel, a classmate and later roommate of Rivera's Santana. Take a look:
Chris Colfer's message was full of love and respect as he looked back at his friendship with Naya Rivera, calling her "one of a kind" and sending his love to her family. Kevin McHale, who played Artie from the first season of Glee, also went for a black-and-white photo:
Kevin McHale also sang Naya Rivera's praises in a long Instagram caption, sharing that he and Rivera had been together in London when they found out about the death of Cory Monteith, which was seven years to the day before Rivera's body was discovered. He shared that they were recently talking about a trip to Hawaii, and praised her independence, strength, and talent. Jenna Ushkowitz played Tina from Glee Season, and she had a lot to say about Rivera as well:
On top of remembering the good times she shared with Naya Rivera, Jenna Ushkowitz mentioned Rivera's son Josey by name and commented that she would help Rivera's family remember how deserving Rivera was. Harry Shum Jr., a.k.a. Mike on Glee, shared this message:
Although Harry Shum found himself "failing miserably" to process the news of her death, he shared how Naya Rivera would nail her monologues as Santana on Glee and pour her heart into every performance. His mention of Rivera reuniting with their "brother in the heavanly skies" seemingly refers to Cory Monteith. Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on Glee, called Rivera her "favorite duet partner" and shared a heartbreaking video:
The video shows Naya Rivera singing with her son, and Amber Riley went on in her caption to state that Rivera's family "will never have to worry about anything." Jane Lynch played Sue Sylvester on Glee, and was one of the actors who had reason to interact with cheerleader Santana on the show in the early days. Her message was short, sweet, and heartfelt:
Lea Michele, who of course played Santana's rival-turned-friend-and-roommate Rachel Berry, took advantage of her recent return to Instagram to honor Naya Rivera. Michele used her Instagram Stories to post a photo of Naya Rivera (as well as one of Cory Monteith). Michele and all of these other Season 1 Glee stars are only some of the cast members who shared their sympathies in the wake of Rivera's death. Darren Criss, Becca Tobin, Alex Newell, Melissa Benoist, Mike O'Malley, Iqbal Theba, Josh Sussman, and Max Adler all posted in her honor.
Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the friends, family, and loved ones of Naya Rivera in this difficult time.