The body of actor Naya Rivera, 33, was found and identified by the Ventura Sheriff’s Office on July 13, after she had gone swimming in a lake with her 4-year-old son six days before.

According to the VSO, Rivera came to Lake Piru in California and rented a pontoon boat at the dock, leaving the dock to go swimming around 1 p.m. While swimming, her son, Josey Dorsey, described being helped into the boat by Rivera who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.

“[S]he mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” said Sheriff Bill Ayub in the transcript.

Rivera was a fan favorite on “Glee” where she played the role of lesbian cheerleader Santana Lopez. One fan on Twitter said that because of the LGBT representation in “Glee,” it gave them the courage to accept themselves, and probably wouldn’t be “out and proud” if it wasn’t for Rivera.

"Glee" creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan shared a statement on Rivera’s legacy.

“...her greatest 'Glee' legacy is probably the humor and humanity that she brought to Santana’s relationship with her best friend and eventual girlfriend/wife Brittany [played by Heather Morris]. It was one of the first times an openly lesbian, high school relationship was seen on network television and Naya understood what 'Brittana' meant to the many young women who were seeing themselves represented on television for the first time,” the statement reads. “Naya always made sure that Santana’s love for Brittany was expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions. Naya was always moved by the girls who reached out to her to tell her how much Santana and Brittany’s love affected them. Naya’s obligation to them — and to all of her fans was obvious. She had the rare combination of humility and endless confidence in her talent.”

Another fan on Twitter thanked her for expressing the importance of LGBT representation, and making Lopez a canon lesbian character to relate to all of the young queer girls in the world.

A small clip of a scene in season 3, episode 7, where Lopez comes out to her Abuela (Ivonne Coll) and gets rejected. Credit: NayaMitchell on YouTube

Rivera won three ALMA awards for her portrayal of Lopez, which are awards for highlighting the best American Latino contributions in the entertainment industry, and promoting fair and accurate portrayals of Latinos.

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, also remembered Rivera on Twitter.  

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Naya Rivera,” she wrote. “The talent and depth Naya brought to her characters inspired millions. As a Latina, it‘s rare to have rich, complex characters reflect us in the media. Naya worked hard to give that gift to so many.”


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS