‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Confirmed Dead at 33 After Drowning Accident

Naya Rivera of Glee attends the LA premiere of 'Judy'
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Naya Rivera’s body has been found after the former Glee star went missing last week.

The actress went out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, with her son on Wednesday, July 8. Her 4-year-old, Josey Dorsey, was later found on the boat alone and the actress was declared missing. On Monday afternoon, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department announced, “A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress.” The office confirmed the body was that of Rivera in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Josey told investigators his mother helped him onto the boat and then looked back and saw her disappear into the water. A search and rescue operation began, and that switched to a recovery mission on Thursday. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said at the time, “we believe a tragic accident happened and she may have lost her life in the lake.”

The office detailed the search operation on Twitter and shared the security footage of Rivera renting the boat with her son. They also posted a video of the underwater visibility at the time.

“There was no indication of foul play, and no indication that this was a suicide,” Sheriff Ayub said during the press conference. “It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this deal. … Our hearts are with them, and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss. … Our hearts also go out to Naya’s many friends and fans who have been holding out hope for the best.”

Rivera’s body was found on the seventh anniversary of Glee costar Cory Monteith’s death.

Rivera was best known for playing Santana Lopez on Glee from 2009 to 2015. Her other TV credits include Devious MaidsThe Bernie Mac ShowFamily Matters, and The Royal Family.

Her former Glee costars have paid tribute to the actress on social media.


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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.

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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..

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