“It hasn’t gotten easier to write a caption. You are the brightest star in my eyes Naya Rivera. I’m so grateful GOD LAYED A HAND and brought us together as best friends, mom friends, scene partners, and everything in between,” Heather Morris shared via Instagram. “Your legacy lives on in kindness and being ‘that sassy queen’ in my eyes. I love you forever bebe girl.”
Naya died on July 8, 2020, at age 33 after going missing on Lake Piru in California while out on a boat with son Josey, whom she welcomed in September 2015 with Ryan Dorsey. After a five-day search, her body was found on July 13, 2020. Prior to her passing, the Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up author’s claim to fame came from starring as Santana Lopez on the FOX series, which aired from 2009 to 2015.
Fellow former costars Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz also shared tributes dedicated to the actress. Other Glee actors shared tributes in the comments sections of their posts.
“It was a beautiful morning. I missed two of her FaceTime calls,” Yolanda recalled of her last conversation with Naya. “I called her back and I said, ‘Naya, where are you?’ And she’s like, ‘Me and Josey, we’re gonna go to the lake and I was gonna have him fish.’ I told her, ‘The lake’s getting choppy,’ and I said, ‘I love you. Call me when you get off the water.’”
She continued, “We had a beautiful conversation. The sun was kissing her face, and she was just beautiful. She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on, and she was glowing.”
When it comes to moving on, the mother and daughter both explained on GMA that they’re taking “one day at a time.” Yolanda shared, “I feel Naya’s energy constantly telling me, ‘Mom, be happy. Don’t cry. I’m OK. Go get Josey. Have fun.’ And I feel that it’s coming from her. I literally wake up every morning, and it’s almost like a restart button, and I have to shake it off.”
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