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Naya Rivera, the Glee actress who went missing after boating on Lake Piru in California last week, was declared dead on Monday (July 13). She was 33.

Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the popular Fox musical, went missing last Wednesday. Her 4-year-old Josey was discovered on the boat alone, prompting authorities to search for Rivera led by a team of divers. Investigators believe that the actress, who first began acting as a child and made guest appearances on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and more, drowned in a “tragic accident.”

Her body was found Monday near the area where she initially was believed to have gone underwater. Authorities do not believe foul play was involved in her death or that she purposefully attempted to hurt herself.

As the years progressed, Rivera shifted her focus to raising her son while also working on the film Step Up: High Water and the show’s transition to television.

“Oh how do I do it? Oh gosh, I dunno, wing it? Wing it and try to stay as healthy as I can. I recently upped my workouts,’ Rivera told The Daily Mail in 2019.  “Gotta wake up earlier because I’m a mom, gotta get to school drop off, but it’s so good. I feel like being a working woman and a working mother is always going to have its challenges.”

She added, “I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to work on shows and productions where that’s not really an issue, mostly because they’re female ran.”

Rivera joined the Glee cast in 2009, first as a recurring character before being prompted to series regular. Alongside Heather Morris, Rivera’s Santana character and Morris’ Brittany Pierce became standouts for their portrayal as a lesbian couple on television. The show quickly became a cult-favorite and spawned numerous soundtracks.

Rivera is survived by her son, Josey, her father, George, her mother Yolanda, her younger brother Mychal and sister Nickayla.


Naya Rivera, ‘Glee’ Actress, Declared Dead After Body Discovered At Lake Piru  was originally published on