The family of former Glee star Naya Rivera paid tribute to the late actress after her body was found in the water at Lake Piru in California on Monday, July 13. Naya’s nearest and dearest broke their silence on the 33-year-old’s tragic death in a heartfelt statement, in which they described the mom of one as a “sassy angel.”
In the message, which was issued to media outlets by Naya’s rep on July 14, her family thanked her many fans and law enforcement for all the support they received after the star initially went missing on Wednesday, July 8, when she took a pontoon boat out on the water with her 4-year-old son, Josey. After she did not return the boat at the agreed time, workers went out to search for the boat and found her son asleep on the pontoon with Naya nowhere to be found.
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit,” they said, per ET Canada.
“Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister,” the statement continued.
The family then went on to share their gratitude to all those who searched for days for Naya at the lake, as divers scoured the water and helicopters flew overhead, while others walked on foot along the shore in a desperate search to find the “Sorry” singer after she went missing.
“Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support,” they said.
Naya’s family then shared that “heaven gained our sassy angel” and asked that their privacy is respected as they continue to mourn the star following the tragic and sudden loss.
After Naya’s body was recovered from the water earlier this week, an autopsy confirmed that she had drowned in the lake and there was no foul play that led to her death.
Since the sad news was confirmed, many fans and friends of the actress have paid tribute to her across social media. Her Glee co-star Dianna Agron, who played cheerleader Quinn Fabray, was one of the most recent cast members of the Fox series to share a heartfelt message in her memory on Instagram.