Naya Rivera Remembered: 'Glee' Stars Pay Tribute

naya

Pop star Demi Lovato is among the many people paying tribute to Naya Rivera, whose body was recovered from a California lake on Monday, five days after she drowned while on an outing with her 4-year-old son Josey.

“I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee,” Lovato wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”

Lovato played Dani, a love interest for Rivera’s Santana Lopez, on four episodes of Glee in Season 5. 

Another Glee guest star was singer Kristin Chenoweth, who did five episodes as April Rhodes. “She was such a sweet, sweet child,” she said, in an emotional video message via Instagram Story.

On social media, she wrote: "Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you."

Naya Rivera, pictured at Toronto’s airport in July 2012. John R. Kennedy

Rivera’s cast mates – who marked the seventh anniversary of Canadian co-star Cory Monteith's death on Monday – also took to social media to share their grief and memories and to pay tribute to Rivera.

Canada's Vanessa Lengies, who played Sugar Motta, shared a video message on Instagram. "I can hear her laughing. She would light me up with her laugh," she read aloud. "Naya was one of the most magnetic peope that I've ever met ... I'm so grateful to have been let in to Naya's family."

“I’m failing miserably to process this news,” Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) wrote. “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.”

Shum Jr. vowed to keep Rivera’s legacy and spirit alive so her son Josey “will grow up to know the incredible woman you were.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Harry Shum Jr (@harryshumjr) on

Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) tweeted: “My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you.”

On Instagram, Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) shared: “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.”

Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) tweeted: “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were.”

Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson) shared a lengthy tribute on Instagram, describing Rivera as bold, outrageous and 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,” recalled Criss.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

A post shared by Darren Criss (@darrencriss) on

Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) described Rivera as her favourite 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."

In an Instagram tribute, Becca Tobin (Kitty Wilde) shared: "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 will forever be grateful to that beautiful human. My heart goes out to her family and her sweet boy."

Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans) said on Instagram that he was “truly heartbroken” about the death of Rivera, whom he described as “the pulse of the show.”

At the end of a lengthy tribute, he wrote: “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.”

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Chord Overstreet (@chordoverstreet) on

Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose) said of Rivera: "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."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

A post shared by Melissa Benoist (@melissabenoist) on

Toronto’s Zack Teperman, formerly known as entertainment blogger Zack Taylor, said Rivera “was one of the first people I had the honour of working with back in 2009 when I got into public relations and moved to Hollywood.”

In an Instagram post following news of her disappearance, Teperman said he spoke to Rivera only weeks ago about her life and son. “It’s unfair to take a mom from her young child like this so suddenly,” he wrote. “This is terrible … You will be missed and never forgotten. You helped shape my career and me into who I am today. Thank you Naya.”

Artist Radio

Listen to music from 'Glee' & Demi Lovato