A tragic conclusion to the disappearance of Naya Rivera was met on Monday when her body was discovered in Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. The 33-year-old had first gone missing after being out on the lake with her four-year-old son last Wednesday. In the wake of her death, many of those who worked alongside her in Hollywood shared heartfelt tributes to the late actress, among those was Mike O'Malley.
The two were castmates on Glee, where O'Malley went on to win an Emmy Award as Burt Hummel. Rivera played the part of Santana Lopez, with both seeing their roles expand into lead parts come the second season. In his tweet, O'Malley said Rivera was "hilarious" and someone who he called "the definition of cool." He was among a handful of other former Glee stars to post a tribute to Rivera; in fact, a few of the show's stars gathered with Rivera's families and held hands on the shore of Lake Piru on Monday.
Naya Rivera was hilarious. She lit up the set. She was the definition of cool. pic.twitter.com/lDZAbtt6P9— Mike O'Malley (@TheMikeOMalley) July 14, 2020
Among those who were there was Chris Colfer, who had O'Malley play his on-screen father as he starred as Kurt Hummel. Colfer was very emotional in his farewell to his longtime friend, pointing out her "otherworldly" talent and beauty. He wrote in his post, "She inspired and uplifted people without even trying." In the days after her disappearance, other members of the show took to social media to ask everyone to show her family respect through the trying times. This included Kevin McHale, who also was at Lake Tiru to join some of his former castmates. After previously not saying anything throughout the past five days, Lea Michele posted a heartfelt tribute to Rivera by sharing some throwback photos of her and the two together.
The loss of Rivera comes as yet another tragedy to strike the series' cast. The discovery of Rivera's body comes seven years after the death of Cory Monteith from substance abuse. He served as the star of the show before passing away in between Season 4 and 5. Along with Monteith, the cast has also lost Mark Sailing and Jim Fuller, who was an assistant director. The show ran on FOX from 2009 to 2015 with the crew from William McKinley High School reinvigorating the musical scene in Hollywood.