Glee cast and other stars react to Naya Rivera's death
Rivera's body was recovered on Monday at the California lake she visited with her son on July 8. The actress was beloved by fans for her honest and heartfelt portrayal of cheerleader Santana Lopez on Ryan Murphy's Glee, her home for six seasons from 2009-2015.
Her costar Jane Lynch, who portrayed cheerleading coach Sue Sylvestor on the musical comedy, shared a heartfelt tribute for the actress on Twitter.
"Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family," she wrote on Monday.
Lea Michele, Glee's Rachel Berry, posted a single photo of her ex-boyfriend Cory Monteith, who was found dead of a drug overdose on July 13, 2013, via Instagram Story that was followed by an image of Rivera.
Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel, remembered Rivera with a lengthy Instagram post captioning an early photo of the pair.
"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," Colfer wrote. "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."
Jenna Ushkowitz also honored Rivera with a lengthy Instagram post. The actress, who portrayed fellow glee club member Tina Cohen-Chang on the Fox series, said she promises "to help the legacy of your talent, humor, light and loyalty live on."
"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," Ushkowitz wrote. "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."
Darren Criss, who joined Glee as Blaine Anderson in season 2, talked about what Rivera meant to him in a Twitter thread. The actor wrote that his late costar "made me laugh like no one else" and was "in a class of her own."
"She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun," Criss first tweeted. "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," he continued. "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."
Criss also talked about how much he admired Rivera's loyalty to her loved ones, and said he was grateful that "she showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to."
While he said he was "gutted beyond description - the very thought of her cracks me up and still brings a smile to my face." Criss ended his thread by writing, "that was Naya’s gift. And it's a gift that will never go away. Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel."
Glee core cast member Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams, also took to Twitter to pen a lengthy, heartfelt tribute to Rivera, whom he called "the most talented person I’ve ever known."
"I legitimately can not imagine this world without you," McHale first wrote.
He also echoed other cast members' sentiments that Rivera possessed a sharp wit and was a gifted singer.
"She was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known & I’m furious we won’t get to see more," McHale continued.
He thanked Rivera for making him "a better person" and that she became like family after working together.
"She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always," he wrote. "I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said."
After wishing privacy for Rivera's family, McHale concluded his thread by writing, "For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us - those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee."
Demi Lovato, who had a recurring role as Santana's girlfriend Dani on season 5, tweeted about how important Rivera's character was to her.
"RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee," Lovato wrote. "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."
Becca Tobin, who played Kitty Wilde on Glee, spoke about Rivera's kindness in an Instagram post, saying the star went out of her way to welcome her when she joined the show in season 3.
"I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified," Tobin wrote. "To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness. She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice. She was a superstar who had nothing to gain from being kind to the new girl, but she was and that changed this new girl’s entire experience on that show."
Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins on the FOX series, shared an image of a broken heart via Twitter in response to Rivera's death.
Josh Sussman, who played Jacob Ben Israel, also mourned the loss of Rivera, tweeting, "Naya, you will be missed so much."
Max Adler, who played Dave Karosky, expressed his pain using crying and broken heart emoji.
Vanessa Lengies, who played Sugar Motta, wrote, "So much grief today. Grateful for our love and connection. Holding everyone tight. Family for lifetimes."
Alex Newell, who portrayed Unique Adams on the series, asked fans to help lift up Rivera's son Josey.
"Now more than ever we must lift her family and friends up especially Josey! My heart is sent to them... Josey you are truly loved by every single person who loves your mommy! I love you Naya," Newell wrote.
"I was a newcomer to acting. She was the real deal and every scene we did together she was a mixture of terrifying and hilarious. A brilliant combo. Great, but really sad memories," wrote Damian McGinty, who played Rory Flanagan in the third season.
Glee writer and actor Michael Hitchcock wrote, "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 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."
The show's former recording engineeer, Alex Anders, reflected on working with Rivera in the studio.
"Heart broken over the loss of Naya," he tweeted. "We had so many good times together in the studio recording her wonderful voice. This was the last of those. I pray for her family and especially little Josey tonight. May she Rest In Peace."
Farrah Moan posted video on Twitter of a segment in which the queens interviewed Rivera, writing: "I truly can’t even believe the news. This will always be a special memory for me. They only showed a minute, but we all got to ask her interview questions. She was so charismatic, sweet, funny and easy to talk to. My heart goes out to her friends and family. this is so sad."
"Sending much love and positive thoughts into the universe for Naya’s family!! RIP," Trinity the Tuck wrote.
"I've only met her once. On camera during a very stressful time but I'm so heartbroken and upset thinking about her child alone on that boat knowing the inevitable news that comes today. Let's celebrate Naya and her life to lift her and her Family up," Peppermint wrote.
The show's official Twitter account also posted about the star with a shot of her on the judges' panel.
"Naya Rivera was truly a light and showed us all how to be unapologetically ourselves. We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and fans in this difficult time. Rest in peace, #NayaRivera"
See more tributes to Rivera below:
Rivera is survived by her parents Yolanda and George Rivera, her younger brother Mychal, younger sister Nickayla, and her 4-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey.