The former Glee star was reported missing on Wednesday following an outing to Lake Piru with her young son

By Jodi Guglielmi and Aurelie Corinthios
July 13, 2020 05:50 PM
Advertisement

Hollywood is mourning the loss of Naya Rivera.

The Glee star has been confirmed dead, five days after she was reported missing following an outing to Lake Piru with her and her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey's 4-year-old son Josey. Her body was discovered in the Southern California lake on Monday morning. She was 33.

In the wake of her death, stars flocked to social media to express their condolences and share their favorite memories of the actress.

"Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were," tweeted Jane Lynch, who played cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox musical comedy. "Love and peace to your family."

Chris Colfer, who played Glee club member Kurt Hummel, posted a lengthy caption alongside an Instagram 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?" he wrote. "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. Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son."

naya rivera and chris colfer
Chris Colfer and Naya Rivera
| Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson) also posted a touching Instagram tribute alongside a smiling photo of Rivera.

"She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun," he began. "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. 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," he added. "Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel."

Matthew Morrison, a.k.a. Mr. Schuester, also posted a tribute on Instagram.

"Naya was a such a powerful force, in both her personal life and in her work. While so many of us were trying to find our voice, Naya’s was clear and resolute," he wrote. "When she spoke, you would embrace every last word. And when she sang, she would let you into her soul. Glee acted as only a snippet of her life that we all, thankfully, had the honor of witnessing.  But Naya would shine brightest when surrounded by her wonderful family.  A common passion we both shared recently was that of our roles as parents. Naya was fervent about motherhood and had a steadfast love for Josey.  It is that powerful love that ensures us that her story does not end here. I’m confident that her positive influence will be continuously felt, and that her beautiful spirit will carry on in the lives of so many. I’m devastated by this immense loss.  This week has been long and trying with much praying and hope. I find some solace in closure, but the pain I feel for her and her family cannot be measured.  Rest in peace, keep shining down on us with your bright light."

Gwyneth Paltrow, who guest-starred throughout the series, shared a video of her performance Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" with Rivera and Heather Morris.

"Remembering beautiful @nayarivera today," she wrote. "Getting to sing in this trio with her was such a special moment. I am in utter shock and disbelief that someone so full of life and passion and talent is no longer with us. And completely heart broken for her family. 💔"

Added Josh Sussman (Jacob Ben Israel), "Naya, you will be missed so much." Sussman also paid tribute to another late Glee costar, Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose seven years ago today.

"Naya rivera. didn't realize the impact u had on my life growing up, being the first poc, lgbtq character i saw on screen," tweeted Bryana Aalaz, an actress on Netflix's Team Kaylie. "I grew up listening to u sing, being inspired by the girl on glee who looks like me & is unapologetically herself. you changed so many lives. rest easy angel."

Actor Nick Bolton said he was "heartbroken" by the news.

"Naya and I were acquaintances at best, but I am heartbroken," he wrote. "My favorite memory will always be dancing with her at @HeatherMorrisTV's wedding while she was pregnant with Josey. She was so happy. I know he was her world. Please pray for her family and friends. #RIPNayaRivera."

Starz, Lionsgate issued a statement to PEOPLE saying: "Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera's family, especially her young child, in response to the tragic news of her passing." Rivera starred on YouTube's Step Up: High Water for two seasons, and season 3, simply titled Step Up, will air on Starz.

"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," the statement continued.

See more tributes below.

On July 8, Rivera and her son rented a pontoon boat at Lake Piru. When the boat became overdue for return after its three-hour rental, the staff at the lake found it at the north side of the water with the star's sleeping son aboard.

A search-and-rescue operation was immediately undertaken at the lake. A day later, authorities announced that Rivera was presumed dead as the search shifted from a rescue mission to a recovery one.

Authorities said Josey was "in good health" despite his mother's disappearance and had reunited with his father. The toddler told investigators that his mother never got back into the boat after they had been swimming in the water.

Rivera and Dorsey, 36, surprised fans in July 2014 when PEOPLE exclusively confirmed they had tied the knot in Mexico — just three months after the bride broke off her engagement to rapper Big Sean.

Their divorce was finalized in June 2018; the exes had recently agreed to joint custody of their son.