Naya Rivera has been reported dead, days after she went missing in California’s Lake Piru. Her body was recovered in the lake, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press conference on Monday. Authorities had been searching for Rivera since Wednesday.
“A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office tweeted earlier on Monday before confirming later in the press conference that the body was indeed that of Rivera.
In her last tweet on July 7, Rivera tweeted a selfie with her 4-year-old son, Josey. The caption read “just the two of us.”
The former Glee star went missing after boating at the lake with Josey. On July 8, Rivera’s son was found alone on a boat, where the two had been swimming the day before.
It appeared that Rivera “mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” officials said in the press conference.
One life jacket was found on the boat and her son was wearing the other life jacket, according to CNN.
A Look Back at Naya Rivera’s Career
Before there was Glee, Rivera began her career as a child actress and model. Between 1992 and 2002, she had roles in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Smart Guy, and The Bernie Mac Show. She also had a special appearance in the music video for B2K’s Why I Love You.
Rivera’s breakout role came in 2009, playing Santana Lopez on the Fox show Glee, a role she’d play until 2015. She was nominated and won several awards for the show, including the 2010 and 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
During her time on the musical-comedy-drama, Rivera briefly pursued a singing career. After signing with Columbia Records in 2011, she released a single in 2013, Sorry, featuring her then-boyfriend, rapper Big Sean.
Fans and Celebrities Weigh In
Former Smart Guy actor, Tajh Mowry, dated Rivera and shared his love for the star in an Instagram post saying, “I look forward to the day where I can see your beautiful face once more and tell you everything I’ve wanted to say that I didn’t get the chance to say. I love you forever. I always have and I always will.”
Tahj’s sister and actress, Tia Mowry, shared how Rivera quickly became part of the Mowry family, adding “I will never forget asking you to shoot an episode of my cooking show Tia Mowry at Home and you saying, ‘yes’ without hesitation.
At the initial news of the star’s disappearance, some fans began to attack former co-star Lea Michele on Twitter, speculating the cause for Michele later deactivating her Twitter account. The two were rumored to have had some tension during the Glee days but Rivera stated otherwise in interviews.
Other fans came to Michele’s defense.
Former Glee co-star, Amber Riley also weighed in and asked that Rivera’s fans “focus on Naya and her family.”
Our thoughts are with Naya Rivera’s family and friends.
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