A little over a week after police confirmed that Naya Rivera had tragically passed away, Chris Colfer shared a touching tribute for the late actress, and opened up about his friendship with his former Glee costar.

For those who missed it, the 33-year-old rented a motorized pontoon boat on Lake Piru near Los Angeles, CA, on Wednesday, July 8. But when she didn’t return on time, the staff went looking for her and discovered her 4-year-old son, Josey, sleeping alone in the boat. Then, during a press conference on Monday, July 13, authorities confirmed that they had found Naya’s body in the lake. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that after completing an autopsy, the actress’ cause of death was drowning.

“When Naya sang, you could feel her soul resonating through your own. Her voice would break your heart in one chorus, only to rebuild it in the next. Watching her perform was like watching magic unfold before your eyes. Naya didn’t just sing a song. She brought it to life. And with every note, she exposed the old sage living inside her young body,” the actor wrote in an essay penned for Variety. “Her heroic and groundbreaking portrayal of Santana Lopez on Glee inspired millions of young people around the world, especially in the LGBTQIA community, and it will be treasured for generations to come.”

“As a friend, you could talk to her about anything. She was the cool older sister you went to for advice, to blow off steam, or to get the hottest take on the latest gossip. Just being in Naya’s presence made you feel protected and regardless of the situation, you knew she’d have your back. She was never afraid to stand up to authority, she always called out mistreatment where she saw it and she always told you the truth — even when it was hard to hear,” he continued. “For as long as I’ve known Naya, the thing she wanted most in life was to be a mother… When her son Josey was born in 2015, it was like a missing piece of Naya had finally arrived. Their connection was magnetic, their affection was radiant and I’ve never seen a person look happier than when Naya gushed over her little boy.”

Chris added, “Being a mom was perhaps Naya’s greatest talent of all, and as her final moments proved, Naya was an extraordinary mother until the very end.”

He concluded by saying that he feels “blessed beyond belief” to have had a friend like Naya.

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