Top Stories

'Glee' Cast Pays Tribute to Naya Rivera After Her Tragic Death - Read Every Post

'Glee' Cast Pays Tribute to Naya Rivera After Her Tragic Death - Read Every Post

The cast of Glee is speaking out with touching tributes for the late actress Naya Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the hit Fox series.

The 33-year-old actress was declared dead on Monday (July 13), five days after she went missing while swimming in Lake Piru in Southern California.

Investigators believe that her death was an act of heroism as she saved her son Josey‘s life by getting him back into their boat as it drifted away, but she wasn’t able to muster enough energy to save herself.

Many of Naya‘s co-stars from Glee have posted tributes to her on social media, including Lea Michele, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, and Jane Lynch.

Naya‘s body was discovered on the seven-year anniversary of the death of Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on Glee.

Click inside to read what all of the stars of Glee are saying…

Read what everyone is saying below:

LEA MICHELE - Rachel Berry

Lea Michele took to Instagram and shared three photos on her Instagram Stories. The first showed Cory Monteith holding a bouquet of flowers while standing on a bridge in Central Park, presumably from when Glee filmed there in 2011.

The second photo was a solo image of Naya and the third photo showed Lea, Naya, and others sitting on a bench on a pier overlooking the beach.

HEATHER MORRIS – Brittany S. Pierce

“We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase. However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding. The last I had the chance to see you in person, I had left oranges outside our home for you to take. I wanted to say hi through the window but my phone didn’t ring when you called (which it never does, f*cking T-Mobile), so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you. I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you. I still listen to your EP on repeat because from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice. You sent me over 5 dozen SnapChat videos when you and Josey woke up in the morning and I kick myself that I didn’t save one of them. You always shared recipes and I admired your love for food. We vowed to spend every Easter together, even though Covid stole this last one from us. You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life.

You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (but still somehow respectful ). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen..you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted.

We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures…our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I. I speak to you everyday because I know you’re still with me and even though I’m feeling greedy that we don’t get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart.”

CHRIS COLFER - Kurt Hummel

“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? 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.”

KEVIN MCHALE - Artie Abrams

“My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you.

7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will.

She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim. The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more.

I’m thankful for all the ways in which she made me a better person. She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always. I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her weeks before I did and when I got Glee, he told me to “look out for a girl named Naya because she seemed nice.” Well dad, she was nice and she became one of my favorite people ever.

If you were fortunate enough to have known her, you’ll know that her most natural talent of all was being a mother. The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful. I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy got back on that boat. I’m thankful he will have a strong family around him to protect him and tell him about his incredible mom.

I just hope more than anything that her family is given the space and time to come to terms with this. For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us – those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee.”

AMBER RILEY – Mercedes Jones

“My favorite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything.”

DIANNA AGRON – Quinn Fabray

“Naya and I fell into stride with such ease, she was my first friend and ally on our show. In the pilot, our characters came and went with such swiftness. Our enthusiasm brimmed with all of the unknown. We tried to grasp what the other cast members must be feeling as we were working in such separate manners. We dared to dream. What if this show worked? Wouldn’t that be something? Something was brimming, it was palpable. And thank god it worked. Naya’s magnetic talent was going to be unleashed, we just didn’t know it yet. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I’ve been revisiting Naya’s performances on our show and it has brought me great joy. To work with her was a gift. There was a great deal to absorb – her work ethic, her fearlessness, her talent – supreme. Naya had a laugh that would envelop you and hold you captive. She was mesmerizing. That twinkle in her eye, her luminous smile. Naya lead with truth, humor, wit. I loved her for all of these reasons. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I loved her sense of curiosity and wanderlust. I was lucky enough to be her travel partner for some of my most favorite adventures. As I write this, I’m grinning with swelling memories of a spontenaous 36 hour excursion – one might even say diversion – to Paris. With Naya, everything was possible and would often simply unfold before us, almost magically.⁣⁣

On this particular jaunt, within ten minutes of checking into our hotel, we found ourselves strolling the halls of L’École des Beaux-Arts, sipping wine from paper cups with students showcasing their latest work. It was fantastic. We were united in our commitment to discovery. And there was always a list of cleverly curated ideas in Naya’s back pocket, should we need it. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I cannot make sense of this tremendous loss. I will hold onto her and these memories for the rest of time, alongside our Glee family. Please hold space for her, her family, her beautiful boy. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
In absolute, loving memory.”

JENNA USHKOWITZ – Tina Cohen-Chang

“There are no words and yet so many things I want to say, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to articulate exactly what I feel but… Naya, you were a ⚡️ force and everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room. You shined on stage and screen and radiated with love behind closed doors.
I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you’d always be here. Our friendship went in waves as life happens and we grow, so I will not look back and regret but know I love you and promise to help the legacy of your talent, humor, light and loyalty live on.

You are so loved. You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already.”

DARREN CRISS - Blaine Anderson

“She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun.⁣

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. 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. ⁣

Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel.”

HARRY SHUM JR. – Mike Chang

“Dear Naya, I’m failing miserably to process this news. I always imagined old future senior moments where we would hear your infectious laughter down the hall knowing that our funny bone was in for a treat,” Harry wrote in his letter on Instagram. “To many people, myself included, you were the life of the party. Not only able to rock when fun was to be had after a long day but that shining friend that was always willing to listen, offer sympathy, perspective and at times, give much needed levity to any situation.

You were a beast on the show. I admired you as I watched you nail multi page monologues that you learned moments before and pour your heart into every performance with an energy that had that snicks special written all over it. Our deep conversations about life in between scenes are some of my favorite moments with you. Getting to hear about your hopes and dreams for the future and with Josey‘s arrival, ‘Your greatest success,’ I was so happy to see your dream turn into reality.

You deserved more. I’m so sorry but you deserved more. You gave life your all and I hope all the good that you have given to the world will be returned in abundance when you reunite with our brother in the heavanly skies. I’m so grateful for our memories. We will make sure to keep your legacy and spirit alive so Josey will grow up to know the incredible woman you were. Love you, Naya. You are already missed. Eternally, HSJ.”

MATTHEW MORRISON – Will Schuester

“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. 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.”

JANE LYNCH - Sue Sylvester

“Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”

CHORD OVERSTREET – Sam Evans

“Naya

The world is at such a loss and I am truly heartbroken.
I still remember the day I met you. You Walked straight up to me, grabbed me by the face and drug me around until I met every single person on set, introducing me as “new booty”. You were one of the first people who made me feel like family when others saw me as an outsider. I didn’t know then that you would become my family and that’s just who you were to everyone.. A Mother, Sister, Daughter and most of all a friend. Your massive heart and bright spark is what carried our entire show, when at times we all felt like giving up.

You always showed up for me when I needed some wisdom or was down and just needed someone to talk to. You took care of everyone around you in a way that was so warm and comforting and you sure knew how to throw a hell of a party!

I always admired your bravery and passion to fight for what’s right even when it seemed like you were up against the world. Your spirit is contagious and you continue to make everyone you have touched a better and stronger person by knowing you.

My favorite part of glee was getting to watch you perform and shine up close every day. You really were the pulse of that show. Anyone who was blessed enough to see and experience your raw talent knows it to be true. You’re one of the smartest and most gifted people I have ever met.
There is no one like you and there never will be.

You have changed peoples lives all around the world and you continue to change mine forever. I will never forget your love and kindness. Thank you for sharing your spirit Angel.

I will miss you always. I Love you Naya”

BECCA TOBIN - Kitty Wilde

“Naya was insanely talented, breathtakingly gorgeous, and one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met, but the legacy she left behind for me is her kindness. I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified. The cast was already such a tight-knit group who had been working incredibly hard together for over three years to make it a hit show and I never expected any of them to have time for me. To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness. She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice. She was a superstar who had nothing to gain from being kind to the new girl, but she was and that changed this new girl’s entire experience on that show. I will forever be grateful to that beautiful human. My heart goes out to her family and her sweet boy. ❤️”

MELISSA BENOIST - Marley Rose

“She has not left my mind this last week. It’s difficult to find words. There was an undeniable beauty that she radiated inside and out, and I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got to witness that up close even for the short period of time that I did. I was so intimidated by her, yet she had a way of disarming that just made you want to be around her, hear what she had to say (because it would undoubtedly be the sharpest and most real thing you would hear all day). She was kind and open to me when she didn’t have to be, when I was a naive, clueless and insecure newcomer. Bravely authentic, genuinely kind, incredibly talented and deeply loved by so many. Thinking of her family and loved ones. Rest In Peace, Naya.”ashley fink glee

ALEX NEWELL - Wade “Unique” Adams

“My heart is broken.. I truly had soo much fun filming this little segment… we both clearly didn’t wanna be there but made the most of it! Naya was truly a star.. one day as I was coming out of hair and make up I saw her sitting at base camp and she said “Alex… when you go on tour can you please say ‘everybody say heeeyy Ms. Newell’’ just for me!” I said absolutely we laughed and had a short little convo about life and music.. I’ll cherish that moment for ever!! I watched her preform with such power, brilliance, and honesty.. While being a light as a person! The love she had for her family and friends was always clear! She will truly be missed! Josey you are loved by all the people who love your mother! My thoughts and prayers are with her family! Rest Sweet Angel..”

JACOB ARTIST – Jake Puckerman

“i was so intimided meeting naya for the first time. i was a fish out of water and her warmth was disarming. for all her gifts as a performer she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included.

celebrating your mark on the world today.”

VANESSA LENGIES - Sugar Motta

“So much grief today. Grateful for our love and connection. Holding everyone tight. Family for lifetimes.”

ASHLEY FINK - Lauren Zizes

“Naya and I held hands during every glee tour performance and I looked forward to it every. single. time. We would always try to make each other laugh by doing something silly and different each show. And then, years later, we held hands again filming the finale. This is just too much. It doesn’t seem possible that such a one of a kind, beautiful, smart, witty, hilarious force of nature could be gone so soon. My thoughts and all my love are with her family and beautiful son. Heartbroken. 💔”

DAMIAN MCGINTY - Rory Flanagan

“Just unbelievable. Grateful to have known you and worked with you and your talent. RIP Naya.”

JOSH SUSSMAN - Jacob Ben Israel

“Naya, you will be missed so much.”

MIKE O’MALLEY - Burt Hummel

“Naya Rivera was hilarious. She lit up the set. She was the definition of cool.”

DOT-MARIE JONES – Shannon Beiste

“THIS WOMAN TOUCHED SO MANY LIVES AND MINE IS ONE OF THEM. SHE WAS BEYOND A FORCE SHE WAS EVERYTHING YOU COULD IMAGINE. TALENTED, SMART, STUNNING, AND MOST OF ALL PRESENT. AS I HAVE SAID SINCE DAY ONE WORKING WITH HER AND JUST BEING AROUND THIS AMAZING WOMAN IS SHE’S THE REAL DEAL! NO BULLSHIT NOT FAKE WHAT YOU SAW IS WHAT YOU GOT AND I LOVE AND RESPECT HER FOR THAT. SHE HAD AN INFECTIOUS LAUGH AND SMILE THAT PULLED YOU IN. A TRUE GIFT SHE WAS AND HER EYES TOLD YOU SO MUCH WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT BEING A MOMMA THEY WOULD WELL UP AND YOU COULD SEE HOW MUCH LOVE SHE HAD FOR HER BOY JOSEY. I WILL LOVE AND HONOR RIVERA FOREVER AND ALWAYS! I CALLED HER RIVERA ALL THE TIME AND SHE’D HEAR ME AND JUST TURN AND LAUGH AND GIVE YOU THAT AWARD WINNING SMILE AND ALWAYS MET WITH A HUG! MY HEART AND LOVE ARE WITH JOSEY AND ALL THE FAMILY MAY YOU ALL KNOW HOW YOUR BELOVED GIRL AFFECTED MYSELF AND SO MANY AROUND THE WORLD! I LOVE YOU ALL.❤️🙏🏻💔”

DEAN GEYER - Brody Weston

“Naya was an extremely talented performer that i got the pleasure of working with. The only thing that rivaled her acting abilities, was her incredible voice. I am extremely saddened to hear the news about someone who had such a positive impact on so many peoples lives.

May the Holy Spirit bring peace to her family and friends during this extremely terrible time.”

SAMANTHA WARE - Jane Hayward

“Completely devastated
Wishing I could find better words…
Sending love, light, and power to the family, friends, and fans of beautiful Naya. What a force.”

LAURA DREYFUSS – Madison McCarthy

“Such a heavy heart.. hold on to your loved ones. Rest In Peace sweet Naya”

BILLY LEWIS JR. – Mason McCarthy

“A very heavy heart today. Rest easy Naya.”

DIJON TALTON - Matt Rutherford

“Rest In Peace Beautiful…. @NayaRivera

My heart and prayers go out to her son and loved ones. Your mommy loves you forever Young King. 🙏🏽”

MAX ADLER - Dave Karofsky

“Sharp. Hilarious. Quick witted. Talented. Loving. Generous. Beautiful. Funny as hell. Smart. Hero. Gone too soon. 🙏🏻, Naya.”

LAUREN POTTER – Becky Jackson

“Cheerios Forever”

MICHAEL HITCHCOCK - Dalton Rumba

“Naya brought so much joy to our lives. She had the sharpest wit, the slyest smile, a compassion for people from all walks of life, and a talent that knew no bounds. My deepest condolences to her family, friends, co-workers, and fans around the world. We love you so much, Naya.”

DEMI LOVATO - Dani

“RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee. The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time.. ❤️🕊”

GWYNETH PALTROW – Holly Holliday

“Remembering beautiful @nayarivera today. 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. 💔”

KRISTIN CHENOWETH - April Rhodes

“Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you.”

CHEYENNE JACKSON - Dustin Goolsby

“How I’ll always remember you. Bright. Beautiful. Funny. You were so kind to me and I watched you be just wonderful with people. A life cut way too short. #RIPNaya”

Just Jared on Facebook
glee cast with naya rivera 01
glee cast with naya rivera 02
glee cast with naya rivera 03
glee cast with naya rivera 04
glee cast with naya rivera 05
glee cast with naya rivera 06
glee cast with naya rivera 07
glee cast with naya rivera 08
glee cast with naya rivera 09
glee cast with naya rivera 10
glee cast with naya rivera 11
glee cast with naya rivera 12
glee cast with naya rivera 13
glee cast with naya rivera 14
glee cast with naya rivera 15
glee cast with naya rivera 16
glee cast with naya rivera 17
glee cast with naya rivera 18
glee cast with naya rivera 19
glee cast with naya rivera 20

Photos: Getty
Posted to: Extended, Glee, Naya Rivera

JJ Links Around The Web

Getty Images
  • Lori Loughlin & Mossimo Giannulli downsize to $9.5 million home - see inside - TMZ
  • Watch the trailer for the Saved by the Bell reboot - Just Jared Jr
  • Alyssa Milano says her hair is falling out because of COVID-19 - TooFab
  • Camila Cabello is working hard on new music - Just Jared Jr