Glee's Kevin McHale Honors 'Talented' Naya Rivera: 'I'm Thankful She Became Like Family'
"I legitimately can not imagine this world without you," wrote Kevin McHale of Naya Rivera, who was confirmed dead five days after disappearing during a late trip with her 4-year-old son
On Monday, authorities found the body of Rivera, 33, who had gone missing during a boat outing with her 4-year-old son, Josey, at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, last week. The discovery came on the seventh anniversary of fellow Glee star Cory Monteith's death.
As Rivera's many costars and famous friends honored her upon learning the news of her death, McHale, 32, who played Artie Abrams on the hit musical comedy series, paid tribute to Rivera with a heartfelt Instagram post.
"My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you," he began the caption, sharing a black-and-white snapshot of the pair smiling while looking into each other's eyes. "7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii."
"This doesn’t make sense," continued McHale. "And I know it probably never will."
The actor said Rivera was "so independent and strong," adding that "the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend."
"She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim," McHale wrote. "The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us."
He added: "She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more."
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McHale also shared how Rivera instilled confidence in him and made him 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," he recalled. "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."
Later in his tribute, the actor also recognized Rivera's accomplishments offscreen: being a loving mother to her young son.
"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," said McHale. "I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy got back on that boat. I’m thankful he will have a strong family around him to protect him and tell him about his incredible mom. I just hope more than anything that her family is given the space and time to come to terms with this."
"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," concluded McHale. "I love you, Bee."
On Twitter, McHale posted further tributes to Rivera, sharing some of his favorite clips of hers from Glee, as well as retweeting an old video that showed both Rivera and Monteith signing autographs together and hugging some of the excited fans.
"I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another," McHale wrote with the video. "So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people."