Naya Rivera‘s family is speaking out after her body was found at Lake Piru in California on Monday, after she went missing last Wednesday. They released a statement Tuesday about the loss of their beloved family member.
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister,” the statement given to Deadline reads. “Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support.”
“Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time,” the statement concludes.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that it was Rivera’s body they discovered, as well as announced that the cause of death was drowning by accident.
“The circumstances and visual characteristics all indicated that the body was that of Naya Rivera and the identity has been confirmed by dental comparison,” the statement reads. “The body has been X-rayed and a full autopsy has been performed. The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged.”
The autopsy revealed that “no traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified.” There was also no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in her death, “but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing.”
The star was taking an afternoon boat ride with her 4-year-old son, Josey, at Lake Piru before the tragic accident. Josey was found safe on the boat, and Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub revealed in a press conference on Monday that authorities speculate that Rivera drowned after boosting her son onto the boat after a swim.
“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,” he shared.
Following her tragic death, friends, fans and former co-stars have taken to social media to express their condolences. Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan paid tribute to the late star — and promised to set up a college fund for her son.
Rivera is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George Rivera, brother, Mychal, sister, Nickayla, and son, Josey.
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