Glee Cast Members React To Naya Rivera's Tragic Death

The recovery of Naya Rivera's body from Lake Piru on July 13, 2020 left millions all over the world devastated over the untimely loss of the Glee star. Rivera, who was 33 when she died, initially went missing on July 8, when her 4-year-old son Josey was found alone in a boat she had rented for an afternoon lake trip, People reported.

The heartbreaking loss reverberated throughout the Glee cast, who remain a tight-knit family from their days on the much-beloved television show. Per TODAY, multiple members of the cast were photographed standing together and holding hands at Lake Piru on Monday. According to the site, they shouted, "Say her name — Naya."

Since the moment Naya Rivera was reported missing, the stars of Glee leaped into action to publicly call for prayers for the actress. In the days that followed, Rivera's disappearance was never far from their minds, culminating in heartbreaking — and heartwarming — tributes to the star.

In addition to gathering together in person, many of the actors expressed their sorrow and paid tribute to Rivera on social media, recalling her talent, friendship, and kindness. Below, see how the cast of Glee remembered their beloved co-star.

Amber Riley and Lea Michele share touching footage

Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes Jones on Glee, posted the most sentimental video of Naya Rivera and her young son, Josey. In the Instagram clip, the mother-son duo cuddled up to each other and sang "Skinnamarink" together, with Rivera smiling widely. At the end of the video, Rivera asked her son for a kiss, and the two smooched lovingly.

"My favorite duet partner," Riley wrote in the caption of the post. "I love you. I miss you. I don't have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything."

Lea Michele, who portrayed Rachel Berry, shared a series of black-and-white photographs on her Instagram story, including a photo of the late Cory Monteith (a fellow Glee actor who died seven years ago to the day that Rivera's body was recovered), as well as a picture of Rivera.

Darren Criss, Demi Lovato, and Harry Shum, Jr. remember her unbelievable talent

Darren Criss, most famous as Glee's Blaine Anderson, posted an Instagram photo of Naya Rivera laughing, accompanied by a lengthy caption. "I also always loved her voice, and savored every chance I got to hear her sing," he wrote. "I think she had more talent than we would have ever been able to see.⁣"

"You were a beast on the show," Harry Shum, Jr., who played Mike Chang on the series, shared in a letter to Rivera. "I admired you as I watched you nail multi page monologues that you learned moments before and pour your heart out into every performance with an energy that had that snicks special written all over it."

Singer Demi Lovato played Rivera's girlfriend on Season 5 of the series. She wrote on Instagram, "The [Glee] character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world."

Dianna Agron and Becca Tobin recall unforgettable memories

Dianna Agron, who played Santana's close friend/frenemy/lover Quinn, talked about a whirlwind trip that she and Naya Rivera took to Paris. 

"With Naya, everything was possible and would often simply unfold before us, almost magically," Agron wrote on Instagram. "Within ten minutes of checking into our hotel, we found ourselves strolling the halls of L'École des Beaux-Arts, sipping wine from paper cups with students showcasing their latest work. "There was always a list of cleverly curated ideas in Naya's back pocket, should we need it."

Becca Tobin, known as Kitty on the series, recalled Rivera's kindness on set — and how she made a new girl like Tobin feel like family.

"I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified. ... To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness," Tobin recalled. "She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice. She was a superstar who had nothing to gain from being kind to the new girl, but she was and that changed this new girl's entire experience on that show."

Chris Colfer and Jenna Ushkowitz are at a loss for words

Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel, was almost at a loss for words.

"How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can't," Colfer shared on Instagram, along with a picture of him and Rivera. "She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be."

Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) also took to Instagram to share the difficulty of fully expressing her feelings. 

"There are no words and yet so many things I want to say, I don't believe I'll ever be able to articulate exactly what I feel but... Naya, you were a [lightning] force and everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room," she said. "Know I love you and promise to help the legacy of your talent, humor, light and loyalty live on."

Kevin McHale believes the late Cory Monteith helped find her body

Naya Rivera's body was found on Monday, July 13 — which happened to be the seventh anniversary of fellow Glee star Cory Monteith's death. (Monteith passed away in 2013 due to an accidental overdose, according to TMZ.) Co-star Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams on the series, found the timing to be more than a coincidence.

Taking to Twitter to express his thoughts, McHale quote-tweeted a video of Rivera and Monteith happily signing autographs for fans.

"I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today," he wrote. "These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people."

While this tight-knit cast has had to mourn several untimely losses, the idea of the Glee family looking out for one another even in the afterlife provides a bit of comfort.