Naya Rivera, American Actress and mother of one has been confirmed dead aged 33.
The ‘Glee’ star was presumed dead five days ago after she went missing during a boating trip to Lake Piru, California with her four-year-old son Josey Dorsey.
The tragic news came after Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed their search teams had found a body in the lake.
They wrote: “A body has been found at Lake Piru this morning. The recovery is in progress. There will be a news conference at 2 pm at the lake.”
Authorities are convinced Naya has been involved in a “tragic drowning” and that despite the focus of Sunday’s searches being the surrounding shoreline, investigators have no reason to think she ever “left the water”.
Authorities were continuing to use dive boat and search and rescue teams, as well as scanning sonar for “visual surface checks” of the water.
According to authorities, Naya Rivera used her energy to save her son before her death. Ventura County Sheriff, Bill Ayub, believes she managed to “muster” enough energy to push her son out of the water but couldn’t save herself.
He said in a press conference: “It would be speculation to say at this point. There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon. We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, the idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
The sheriff added that there is no evidence of foul play or suicide. “He and Naya swam in the lake together,” Ayub said. “It was during that time that her son described being helped onto the boat by Naya. … He told investigators he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
On July 2, Rivera posted a selfie with a now-eerie message, writing, “tomorrow is not promised.”
Rivera played Santana Lopez, a cheerleader and star glee club member, on the musical comedy Glee. She appeared in nearly every episode of hit show’s six-season run and was considered a trailblazer for LGBTQ characters. Santana came out in the 2011 episode “I Kissed a Girl” after developing feelings for best friend Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris).
Rivera is the third Glee star to pass on in recent years. Naya’s body was found on the seven-year anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death. The Canadian actor who played Finn Hudson and dayed Heather Morris was 31 when he died of a heroin overdose on July 13, 2013.
Another actor Mark Salling who played Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman and dated Rivera, died by suicide at the age of 35, two years after he was indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
He had pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor and was scheduled for sentencing when he died.
Rivera shared Josey with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey. The two began dating in 2010 but split. In July 2014, they surprised fans when PEOPLE exclusively confirmed they had reconnected and tied the knot in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico just three months after the bride broke off her engagement to rapper Big Sean.
Rivera and Dorsey welcomed their child in September 2015 but later filed for divorce twice. Their divorce was finalized in June 2018.
Their relationship was tumultuous at times. In 2017, after the couple had called off divorce proceedings, Rivera was arrested and charged with misdemeanour domestic battery after she allegedly hit Dorsey while taking their son for a walk. She filed for divorce again shortly after, and the charge was dismissed at Dorsey’s request.
She began her career as a child actress and model, appearing in national television commercials before landing the role of Hillary Winston on the short-lived CBS sitcom The Royal Family at the age of 4 (1991–1992), for which she received a nomination for a Young Artist Award.
In 2015, Rivera portrayed the recurring role of Blanca Alvarez in the third season of Lifetime’s drama series Devious Maids. Rivera released a memoir titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up in September 2016. In 2018, it was announced that she would be taking the role of school administrator Collette Jones in the YouTube Red series Step Up: High Water.
Tributes for the late actress have flooded social media with fans and celebrities alike taking a moment to post about how special she was. The celebrities include Glee Castmates Heather Morris and Chris Colfer, fellow child actors Tamera, Tia and Tahj Mowry as well as Step Up Highwater castmates Neyo and Kendra Oyesanya.