‘The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful’: Friends remember Naya Rivera

Local News

Naya Rivera’s friends, former cast members and fellow performers have taken to social media following news of the 33-year-old “Glee” star’s death to pay tribute to a talent gone too soon.

Rivera, 33, is believed to have drowned while swimming in Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son, officials said Monday.

What the comments from those who knew her make clear is that Rivera left an undeniable mark on the industry to which she dedicated her life, and was an artist who brought many a great deal of glee.

Jane Lynch

“Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.” — via Twitter

Chris Colfer

“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.” — via Instagram

Kristin Chenoweth

“Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you.” — via Twitter

Kevin McHale

“If you were fortunate enough to have known her, you’ll know that her most natural talent of all was being a mother. The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful. I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy got back on that boat. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her years 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. My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you.” — via Twitter

Darren Criss

“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. She played by her own rules and was in a class of her own. 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. 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. And even as I sit here, struggling to comprehend, gutted beyond description- the very thought of her cracks me up and still brings a smile to my face. That was Naya’s gift.

And it’s a gift that will never go away.

Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel.” — via Twitter

Dean Geyer

“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.” — via Twitter

Michael Hitchcock, writer/producer “Glee”

“Naya brought so much joy to our lives. She had the sharpest wit, the slyest smile, a compassion for people from all walks of life, and a talent that knew no bounds. My deepest condolences to her family, friends, co-workers, and fans around the world. We love you so much, Naya.” — via Twitter

Jenna Ushkowitz

“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. I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you’d always be here. 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. You are so loved. You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already.” — via Instagram

Viola Davis

“Prayers for Naya Rivera’s family. Man….can we have a “Do Over ” of 2020. The loss is too much.” — via Twitter

Aisha Hinds

“Nearer and nearer to numb….fighting to feel HOPE everyday. This year has been deeply disruptive and devastating. This news is crushing. My whole being cries out in prayer for her 4 year old child…Have mercy” — via Twitter

Ricky Martin

“Beautiful memories boricua. RIP.” — via Twitter

Lili Reinhart

“It feels strange to cry and mourn the loss of someone you never knew. But I grew up watching Glee- and Naya Rivera was such a beautiful talent. My heart breaks for her son.

Hold on tight to your people right now, if you’re lucky enough to be near them.” — via Twitter

Demi Lovato

“RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee. The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted (at the time) queer girls like me, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world.” — via Twitter

Patricia Arquette

“#NayaRivera This is so horribly sad. She was such a talent . My heart is broken for her son and her mom.” — via Twitter

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