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Naya Rivera Portraits - 2013 Giffoni Film Festival

Naya Rivera: Former Co-Stars and More Pay Tribute

By now you’ve heard the tragic news that Glee star Naya Rivera died at the age of 33. She was boating with her 4-year-old son on Lake Piru in Southern California. It’s devastating news.

As a Grammy-nominated singer and actor, Rivera was best known for playing cheerleader Santana Lopez on Glee. Rivera recently starred in the TV adaptation of Step Up, which had recently moved to Starz for its second season. She also had a recurring role on Lifetime‘s drama Devious Maids.

Rivera wasn’t only an immensely talented performer, she was also beloved by her co-stars and many others in the industry for who she was off-camera. Following the news, many of Rivera’s co-stars on Glee, as well as folks from throughout the entertainment industry, took to social media to pay their respects. Here are a few of those posts.

Becca Tobin, who played cheerleader Kitty Wilde on Glee:

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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. ❤️

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Castmember Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams on Glee:

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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.

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Chris Colfer, who starred as Kurt Hummel on Glee:

Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Tina Cohen-Change on Glee:

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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.

A post shared by Jenna Ushkowitz (@jennaushkowitz) on

It’s not only the Glee family speaking about Rivera—Mandy Moore, Josh Gad, Viola Davis, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are just a few of the stars who have shared their heartbreak. This post from GLAAD offers yet another example of the type of person Naya Rivera was. She will be greatly missed:

Featured image: GIFFONI VALLE PIANA, ITALY – JULY 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Naya Rivera poses for a portrait session at the 2013 Giffoni Film Festival on July 24, 2013 in Giffoni Valle Piana, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

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