By Tyler Aquilina
July 18, 2020 at 12:34 PM EDT
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Big Sean has broken his silence on the death of his former fiancée, Naya Rivera, with a heartfelt tribute posted to Instagram Friday night.

Rivera was found dead on Monday after going missing the previous week, having drowned in a California lake while out on a boat with her four-year-old son. According to investigators, the two went swimming in the lake during the day, and Rivera was able to help her son get back in the boat but could not do so herself.

"Rest In Peace Naya, God Bless your Soul! Thank you for blessing us all with your talent and presence," Big Sean wrote on Instagram. "You are a hero! Not just because of how you saved your son, also because of the barriers you knocked down for so many people to make them feel confident in themselves and to stand tall and be proud when they couldn’t achieve that on their own."

"I appreciate and cherish everything that ever happened between us for making me wiser and a better person," he continued. "I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real."

The rapper began dating Rivera in 2013, and the two later became engaged but ultimately called off the engagement in April 2014.

Rivera is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George Rivera; her younger brother, Mychal; her younger sister, Nickayla; and her 4-year-old son, Josey.

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