It's been two years since the tragic passing of Glee alum Naya Rivera. The actress drowned in the Lake Piru reservoir in Southern California, leaving behind beloved parents, a sister, and a toddler son. Her son is now being raised by his father and Rivera's sister. And now her co-stars from the FOX singing drama are paying tribute to her on their respective social media platforms. "Every day my angel. I miss you every damn day," is Heather Morris captioned a couple of snapshots. On the show, the pair played the glee club's popular cheerleader duo — who are eventually revealed to have romantic feelings for each other. Rivera made history as a one of the first Latinx characters on a hit primetime series to identify as LGBTQ+. Kevin McHale, who played Artie on the show, posted a photo of Rivera striking a peace sign. "The best there ever was forever & ever." Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz, who respectively portrayed Mercedes and Tina on the show, also shared photos of Rivera in tributes.
On July 8, 2020, Rivera then 33, disappeared off a rented pontoon boat she had taken out onto the water with her then-4-year-old, Josey. The boy was later discovered by a rescue team asleep on the boat and a frantic search for Rivera ensued. Her body was discovered five days later, with her cause of death eventually determined to have been an accidental drowning. Josey later revealed information to detectives that let them know her last moments were spent saving him. Rivera was not wearing a life jacket at the time of her drowning.
A search-and-rescue diver speculated that strong winds over the reservoir and Rivera not wearing a life jacket may have factored into the deadly tragedy. "What I suspect is that the winds kicked up. Those pontoon boats are very light, and when you push them, it can get away from you. She might've tried to swim after the boat," the diver, Robert Inglis, told US Weekly. He added that such circumstances "contributes to a lot of the drownings is when people go swimming and they are not wearing their life vests."
Rivera got her start as a child acting in sitcoms. Some of her other acting credits include Soul Food the series on Showtime, The Bernie Mac Show, Step Up, Smart Guy, and Family Matters to name a few.