It’s incredibly shocking to say that yet another young star of ‘Glee’ is no longer with us, and no one is feeling the pain of losing Naya Rivera quite like her co-stars from the hit FOX series.
In news that shook the Glee-loving world, Naya Rivera, who played the fiery yet lovable Santana for the entire six-season run of the show, was found dead on July 13, five days after she went missing, following a day of boating with her young son, Josey, 4, in Lake Piru on July 8. After days of searching for her body, a law enforcement source confirmed to HollywoodLife, on Monday afternoon, that the actress died.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed the body found was Naya’s in a press conference later in the day. During the press conference, 20th Century FOX Television & FOX Entertainment, the network that Glee was on, released a statement about Naya’s death.
“Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy,” the statement read. “We are forever grateful for the indelible contribution she made to GLEE, from the first episode to the last. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts go out to Naya’s family, friends and young son.”
Within minutes of the news that her body was found, Naya’s Glee co-stars sent sorrowful messages out to fans and shared their immense grief over her tragic passing. The first to share their sorrow was Jane Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester, Santana’s cheerleading coach on the show. “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family,” her heartbreaking tweet read.
Following Jane’s tweet, Josh Sussman and Max Adler also took to Twitter to share their feelings. Josh, who played Santana’s classmate Jacob on the hit series, wrote, “Naya, you will be missed so much.” And Max, who played Blaine’s (Darren Criss) short-lived love interest Dave Karofsky, said, “Hey, July 13th….,” followed by the middle finger emoji.
Less than 24 hours before Naya’s body was found, Glee star Amber Riley took to Twitter to clap back at haters who were criticizing her and her co-stars for primarily staying quiet on social media, following Naya’s disappearance. On July 12, she wrote, “Show some respect. All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family. No one owes anyone online a performance of grief. This is very real and devastating. Focus on Naya and her family. Not us. We don’t matter right now.”
Kevin McHale then added, “I cannot begin to understand what Naya’s family must be feeling. I know the rest of us are completely shattered, but not without hope. Please respect her family & their privacy in this moment. Please refrain from judging those who don’t show their pain on social media.”
Meanwhile, Heather Morris joined the search for Naya and was seemingly present when her co-star’s body was found.
Tragedy is no stranger to Glee. Naya is the third cast member to die unexpectedly since the show debuted on Fox in 2009. Naya’s death actually falls just a few days before the anniversary of the death of her co-star, Cory Monteith, who died on July 13, 2013 of an overdose while the show was still on the air. Five years later, Mark Salling, who played Puck, killed himself on January 30, 2018, after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.
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