Naya Rivera, the actress who portrayed the iconic LGBTQ character Santana Lopez in Ryan Murphy’s Glee, has been pronounced dead at 33 after going missing at Lake Piru in California.
Rivera went missing last Wednesday (July 8) after her 4-year-old son was found sleeping alone on a rented pontoon boat. He later told investigators that he and Rivera were swimming, but she never got back on the boat.
After days of searching, Rivera’s body was discovered on Monday (July 13), according to the Ventura County Sheriff. The body will go to the coroner’s office and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
The news conference has concluded. Sheriff Ayub has confirmed the body recovered at Lake Piru today was Naya Rivera. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fans during this difficult time. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of her death.
Rivera leaves behind a queer legacy with her role of Santana. In the show, Santana struggled with her sexuality and being in love with her best friend, Brittany. Her character allowed many to feel seen in a way they hadn’t before, especially young women of color.
"In high school, I desperately grasped for anything that could help me understand who I was and what my feelings meant. Santana Lopez gave me something to hold onto, tightly. It is no exaggeration to say Naya Rivera changed my life.” – @whembleysewellhttps://t.co/Cun3F0N4DX