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Naya Rivera Declared Dead After Body Recovered From California Lake

July 13, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera has passed away, with her body being recovered from a lake in California after going missing on Wednesday. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a press conference (per TMZ) that the body found in Lake Piru, California this morning was indeed that of the actress, who is best known for playing Santana Lopez on Glee.

The spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Rivera had been swimming in the lake with her four year-old son Josey. There is still speculation as to exactly what went wrong, but the spokesperson said that Josey had been in the water and that Rivera had managed to get him back into the boat they were using before being pulled away. It was noted that the current was very strong that day, which may have contributed to her drowning. Authorities said that they do not suspect foul play or any intent to self-harm, and that swimming is allowed in the lake.

In a tragic coincidence, Rivera’s body was found on the seventh anniversary of Glee co-star Cory Monteith’s death. Monteith died on July 13th, 2013 due to a mixed drug toxicity consisting of heroin and alcohol, with the death being ruled accidental.

Rivera began acting at the age of four, with a role on CBS’ comedy Royal Family. It was Glee that made her a star though. She began as a side character in a recurring role as Santana, the snide cheerleader who was part of lead cheerleader Quinn Fabray’s (Dianna Agron) mean girl posse. She began to break out in the latter half of the first season and alongside Heather Morris (Brittany), she was promoted to a series regular for season two. The chemistry between Santana and Brittany led to them becoming a couple on-screen, one of the most popular duos on the show and, along with Chris Colfer’s Kurt Hummel, a major force for queer representation — particularly relevant considering that Glee marketed to a more teen-oriented audience.

Following Glee’s success, Rivera became one of the cast members who started a solo music career, with her debut single “Sorry” releasing in September of 2013. She would go on to have a recurring role in Lifetime’s Devious Maids and had a recurring role on the Step Up series, which is set to move from YouTube Red to Starz with its upcoming third season. She also had a few roles in film, starring in 2014 horrror film At the Devil’s Door and 2017 comedy Mad Families.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of Ms. Rivera.

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Glee, Naya Rivera, Jeremy Thomas