US actress Naya Rivera best known for Glee, has died aged 33.
Reports of her disappearance at Lake Piru, in Ventura County, California emerged last week.
Rescue crews scoured a small lake after her 4-year-old son was found alone on the boat on the water. About three hours after they set off, another boater reportedly spotted their boat drifting and then found the boy asleep on board.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said investigators believed she drowned in a “tragic accident,” and after days of searching discovered a body earlier today. Authorities reiterated to the media they did not suspect foul play nor do they believe she purposely tried to hurt herself.
Police confirm she helped her son get back in the boat before drowning.
Rivera played cheerleader Santana Lopez on Glee from 2009–2015, performing a duet with Ricky Martin, and working with Gloria Estefan.
“She’s really mean and loves boys. She’s really witty so I love playing her,” Rivera once said of her character. But during the second season, Santana was radically changed when it was revealed that her character was a lesbian. Rivera portrayed Santana struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, with her love for her best friend r Brittany (Heather Morris), and with her inability to come out of the closet. Later during an appearance as a guest host on The View, Rivera alluded to her own possible bisexuality.
She was signed to a record deal with Columbia Records but was dropped after “Sorry” featuring rapper Big Sean underperformed.
Her other TV credits included The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Live Shot, Baywatch, Smart Guy, The Jersey, House Blend, Even Stevens, 8 Simple Rules, CSI: Miami and a recurring role in Devious Maids.
In 2016, she published a memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.
“Naya Rivera 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 Naya’s family, friends and young son,” 20th Century FOX TV and FOX Entertainment said in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera’s family, especially her young child, in response to the tragic news of her passing,” Starz and Lionsgate said in a statement. “She was a vibrant and luminous talent who will always remain a very special part of our Step Up family. Her remarkable contributions to our industry created a lasting memory that will be carried forward by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.”
Former Glee stars also took to social media.
Jane Lynch said, “Rest Sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”
Chris Colfer, 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.”
Kevin McHale, said, “I’m thankful for all the ways in which she made me a better person. She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always. I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her weeks before I did and when I got Glee, he told me to ‘look out for a girl named Naya because she seemed nice.’ Well dad, she was nice and she became one of my favorite people ever.”
Darren Criss wrote, “She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun. Naya made me laugh like no one else on that set. I always said it while we were working together and I’ve maintained it ever since. Her playful, wicked sense of humor never ceased to bring a smile to my face.”
Jenna Ushkowitz wrote, “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.”
Lea Michele paid tribute to both Rivera and Cory Monteith, being the anniversary of his death, on Instagram.
There were also tributes from GLAAD, Kathy Griffin, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Mario Lopez, Gabby Sidibe, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alex Newell, Kristin Chenoweth and Ricky Martin.
Source: Hollywood Reporter