Naya Rivera's Family Breaks Silence on Her Tragic Death: 'Heaven Gained Our Sassy Angel'

The family of Naya Rivera has released a statement about her death. The Glee star was last seen on Wednesday, renting a boat on Lake Piru with her son, Josey. Hours later, Josey was found alone on the vessel, and a five-day search commenced to locate Rivera's body, which was recovered by authorities on Monday.

"We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week," the statement begins, via Deadline. "While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister." The family also thanked the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department for their "commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya."

"We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her," the statement continues. "Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support. Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time."

After Rivera's disappearance, a number of her fans and former co-stars shared their condolences on social media, with some members of the Glee cast even gathering together on the shores of Lake Piru in remembrance of the actor. Captain Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, told Us Magazine that the cast happened to gather right around the time Rivera's body was finally discovered.

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"I don't know who is who in the cast, but there were 12 to 15 people," Buschow explained. "They were down there by the edge of the lake and prayed for about a half-hour. I did not go down there and stand with them, so I don't know what they did or said other than they had expressed a desire to go down there and have a prayer."

Additionally, Glee's three creators, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, have all started a college fund for Rivera's 4-year-old son. The trio also released an official statement on her passing. "She was warm and caring and fiercely protective of the rest of the cast," their statement read, in part. "She was tough and demanding. She was fun. She was kind. She was generous.