Naya Rivera’s family and former Glee co-stars have paid tribute to the actress on the anniversary of her death.
Rivera (33) drowned after getting into difficulty at Lake Piru in Southern California while on a trip with her then four-year-old son, who was found alone and unharmed on their rented boat.
The cause of death was later found to be accidental drowning.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 8, 2021
Rivera’s younger sister Nickayla told Good Morning America that what keeps her family going is taking things “one day at a time”.
“And taking that one day at a time and living it to the fullest, loving each other to the fullest, and not regretting anything,” she added.
“Because I know if we could go back, we’d hug a little bit harder.”
Rivera’s younger brother Mychal told the US show: “One year without you, one year closer to when we will meet you again.
“Your endless energy lives on. May you continue to rest so graciously, Naya.”
Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire told Good Morning America the family are “afraid of the sorrow being so heavy that we’re afraid for our own self, because this is hard”.
“There are no words to describe what we’re going through,” she added. “All we know is we have each other.”
Rivera’s body was found following a five-day search at Lake Piru and Previtire described the period from when her daughter went missing to when she was discovered as “hell on Earth”.
She also reflected on the “beautiful morning” when she spoke to Rivera for the last time.
“I missed two of her FaceTime calls and I called her back. And we had a beautiful conversation. The sun was kissing her face and she was just beautiful.
“She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on and she was glowing.”
She praised her daughter’s “impeccable” work ethic. “She had this cool swag about her,” Previtire added.
Rivera was best known for playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee.
Santana was widely praised for being a pioneering LGBT character and Rivera’s work has been described as ground-breaking.
Her co-stars on the musical comedy-drama, which ran from 2009-2015, also shared tributes.
Heather Morris, who played Santana’s love interest and best friend Brittany Pierce, said “it hasn’t gotten easier to write a caption”.
She wrote on Instagram: “You are the brightest star in my eyes Naya Rivera. I’m so grateful GOD LAYED A HAND and brought us together as best friends, mom friends, scene partners, and everything in between. Your legacy lives on in kindness and being ‘that sassy queen’ in my eyes. I love you forever bebe girl.”
Lea Michele, who played the lead character of Rachel Berry on Glee, shared a picture of Rivera to her Instagram Story alongside the dove emoji.
Will Schuester actor Matthew Morrison shared a picture of Rivera alongside a love heart emoji while Kevin McHale, better known to Glee fans as Artie Abrams, posted his own photograph of the late actress and wrote: “I miss you. Every single day.”