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"He saw her disappear." Everything we know about the death of Glee star Naya Rivera.

Naya Rivera's dead body has been found in the Southern California lake where the 33-year-old went missing last Wednesday, July 8.

"Based on the location where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, the clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body... we are confident the body we found was that of Naya Rivera," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told media on Monday, local time.

Ayub said there was no indication of foul play or suicide, and this was just a tragic accidental drowning.

Here's everything we know about the death of Glee star Naya Rivera.

'She saved her son.'

Rivera was discovered missing after her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, was found asleep and adrift on a boat in Lake Piru on Wednesday afternoon, local time.

The mother-son duo had rented a pontoon boat at about 1pm. Josey was found three hours later alone, after another boater raised the alarm.

Her car was found in a carpark nearby with her handbag inside.

Ventura County Deputy Sheriff Chris Dyer said last week the lake, about an hour north west of Los Angeles, was a "sanctuary" for Rivera, adding she had been going there for years.

The son later told authorities what he remembered happening. 

"He and Naya swam in the lake together," Ayub said at the media conference. "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."

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Authorities believed "she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself".

Naya Rivera played cheerleader Santana Lopez on Glee. Image: Netflix. 

An extensive search-and-rescue operation had been ongoing each day since Wednesday, with more than 80 people utilising helicopters, boats, ATV vehicles, dive teams and ground personnel.

She was presumed dead on Thursday.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over Lake Piru as part of the search for Naya Rivera. Image: Getty.

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Rivera's family and friends visit the lake.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office confirmed to PEOPLE that Rivera's family had been present at the site throughout the five-day search.

"Naya's mother and brother have been at the lake every day since Naya disappeared. They have been in constant contact with the Sheriff's Office and involved in the search. On Saturday morning, they joined the search on a sheriff's boat," a source told the publication.

ABC News producer Anastasia Williams tweeted a photo of a man and woman at the dock, with the woman on her knees with her arms outstretched. It was confirmed the image showed Rivera's mother and brother.

Following the discovery of her body, Rivera's family and a few of her Glee castmates held hands on the lake shore. Today is also the 7th anniversary of Rivera's former co-star Cory Monteith's death.

This photo of the cast of #Glee gathering together at Lake Piru today where #NayaRivera’s body was found is incredibly powerful — especially when you consider today is the 7 year anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death. I’m a mess. pic.twitter.com/RhY9hUb78E

— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 13, 2020

"What a force you were."

Rivera's former co-stars and friends have shared prayers and tributes to the actress.

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Jane Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester on Glee, tweeted love to Rivera's family following the discovery of her body.

Over the weekend, her former partner Tahj Mowry, an actor and the younger brother of Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry, shared an emotional tribute.

"My sweet Naya - to say that I am devastated would be an understatement. This is a nightmare. Everyday gets harder. However, I am holding onto hope that you will be found," he began.

"We grew up together. We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together. 

"You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each other's hearts and then mended them back together... more than once. I will never not think of you. 

"No woman has ever measured up what you gave me or how you made me feel. I've never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you. A part of me always wished for the day where God would bring us back together to be what we dreamt we could have been."

He said he prayed deeply for Rivera's family and asked everyone reading to "please lift up" her family, including son Josey and ex-husband Ryan Dorsey.

"I still have faith. I still have hope. Let's please all pray that she is found and brought home safely. ⁣

"Naya, I miss you deeply. I wish I got the chance to tell you that once more but I'm believing I will get that chance.

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"I know deep down you've always known how I felt. I look forward to the day where I can see your beautiful face once more and tell you everything I’ve wanted to say that I didn’t get the chance to say. I love you forever. I always have and I always will."






View this post on Instagram









My sweet Naya - to say that I am devastated would be an understatement. This is a nightmare. Everyday gets harder. However, I am holding onto hope that you will be found. ⁣ ⁣ We grew up together. We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together. You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each others hearts and then mended them back together...more than once. I will never not think of you. No woman has ever measured up what you gave me or how you made me feel. I’ve never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you. A part of me always wished for the day where God would bring us back together to be what we dreamt we could have been. ⁣ ⁣ I pray deeply for the Rivera family and that God blankets them with strength, peace, and love right now. Mychal and Nickayla - you will always be like younger siblings to me and I love you dearly. I watched you two grow up into beautiful adults. George and Yolanda - whatever you need I am here for you. We are forever family and I love you. ⁣ ⁣ I ask everyone reading this to please lift up, along with the entire Rivera family, Ryan and Josey in prayer and to respect what they are going through during this time. I pray that God showers the entire family with strength and peace that only He can give. ⁣ ⁣ I still have faith. I still have hope. Let’s please all pray that she is found and brought home safely. ⁣ ⁣ Naya, I miss you deeply. I wish I got the chance to tell you that once more but I’m believing I will get that chance. I know deep down you’ve always known how I felt. I look forward to the day where I can see your beautiful face once more and tell you everything I’ve wanted to say that I didn’t get the chance to say. I love you forever. I always have and I always will. ⁣ ⁣ ♥️

A post shared by  Tahj Mowry (@tahj_mowry) on

Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel on Glee, said Rivera's "brilliance and humor were unmatched."

"Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark. She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor," the actor wrote on Instagram. 

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"Just the two of us."

On the morning of her disappearance, the 33-year-old posted a picture of herself with her son on Instagram and Twitter, captioning the post, "Just the two of us".






View this post on Instagram









just the two of us

A post shared by  Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on

On July 2, she posted on social media "no matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you're alive is a blessing. Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised".

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Rivera's life and career.

The 33-year-old starred in six seasons of Glee, playing the popular cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera was a child star before landing her big break in Glee

She starred in sitcom The Royal Family as a four-year-old, and appeared in shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Baywatch and Even Stevens throughout her childhood.

In 2009, she starred as Santana in Glee, a recurring role in season one before being promoted to a main role for the next four seasons.

She, like much of the cast, faced rumours throughout her time on the show - mostly to do with her strained relationship with co-star Lea Michele, who has deleted her Twitter account since Rivera's disappearance.

She has not provided a reason why, but Michele has received a torrent of abusive messages calling for her to comment on her former co-stars disappearance. 

Rivera described the Glee set as like a "polygamist cult" in her 2016 memoir, saying the cast would "bed-hop" and had "the sex drive of bunnies".

In 2013, she confirmed she was dating rapper Big Sean after meeting on Twitter, and they announced their engagement in October of that year. They never made it down the aisle, after Sean was rumoured to have cheated on her with singer Ariana Grande.

In her memoir, Rivera said she once ran into the pair hanging out at his house.

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"I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? It rhymes with 'Smariana Schmande,'" Rivera wrote.

Naya Rivera and son Josey in February 2019. Image: Getty.

The actress married actor Ryan Dorsey in 2014, on the date she'd originally planned to marry Sean. She gave birth to her first child, Josey Hollis, in 2015. The pair divorced in 2018.

The Glee cast have been plagued by tragedy, heartbreak and scandal over the years.

Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the show, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver on July 13, 2013 from a drug overdose. He was 31 years old. 

In 2018, Mark Salling, who played bad boy Noah "Puck" Puckerman on the show, died by suicide just weeks after he pleaded guilty to being in possession of child pornography.

Feature Image: Getty.

This article was originally published on July 9 and has been updated.


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