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‘Glee’ cast remembers Naya Rivera: ‘What a force you were’

Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez, with other 'Glee' castmates
Naya Rivera, as Santana Lopez, performs the 300th musical performance of “Glee” surrounded by other members of the show’s cast.
(Fox)

After the Ventura County sheriff announced Monday that he was “confident” a body recovered from California’s Lake Piru earlier in the day was that of missing actress Naya Rivera, her “Glee” family remembered their friend warmly in words and pictures on social media.

Rivera, who was 33, went missing Wednesday after renting a boat with her 4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey. Josey, whose father was Rivera’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, was found asleep in the boat late that night.

“Glee” castmate Chris Colfer was effusive in his memories of Rivera, who appeared in 116 episodes over the show’s six-season run.

“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. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness,” Colfer wrote on Instagram.

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“Glee” star Naya Rivera, who died during a boat outing with her son last week, was known for showstopping performances on the series. Here are the 10 best.

“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,” Colfer added. “Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be.”

“Thank you for what you gave the world. I love you,” tweeted guest performer Kristin Chenoweth, who posted a photo of the actress cradling her young son.

“She had the sharpest wit, the slyest smile, a compassion for people from all walks of life, and a talent that knew no bounds,” “Glee” writer-director Michael Hitchcock tweeted.

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“Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family,” tweeted costar Jane Lynch.

And costar Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams, alluded to Rivera’s body being found on the seventh anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death. Monteith, who played football player Finn Hudson on “Glee” and was the longtime boyfriend of Lea Michele (glee-club diva Rachel Berry), overdosed in 2013.

“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,” McHale tweeted Tuesday. “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.”

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Michele posted black-and-white photos of Monteith and Rivera in her Instagram story Monday, and Iqbal Theba, who played the principal at “Glee’s” William McKinley High School, tweeted only an emoji of a broken heart.

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My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. • 7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will. • She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim. The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more. • I’m thankful for all the ways in which she made me a better person. She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always. I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her weeks before I did and when I got Glee, he told me to “look out for a girl named Naya because she seemed nice.” Well dad, she was nice and she became one of my favorite people ever. • If you were fortunate enough to have known her, you’ll know that her most natural talent of all was being a mother. The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful. I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy back on that boat. I’m thankful he will have a strong family around him to protect him and tell him about his incredible mom. I just hope more than anything that her family is given the space and time to come to terms with this. For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us - those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee.

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

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⁣⁣ Naya and I fell into stride with such ease, she was my first friend and ally on our show. In the pilot, our characters came and went with such swiftness. Our enthusiasm brimmed with all of the unknown. We tried to grasp what the other cast members must be feeling as we were working in such separate manners. We dared to dream. What if this show worked? Wouldn’t that be something? Something was brimming, it was palpable. And thank god it worked. Naya’s magnetic talent was going to be unleashed, we just didn’t know it yet. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I’ve been revisiting Naya’s performances on our show and it has brought me great joy. To work with her was a gift. There was a great deal to absorb - her work ethic, her fearlessness, her talent - supreme. Naya had a laugh that would envelop you and hold you captive. She was mesmerizing. That twinkle in her eye, her luminous smile. Naya lead with truth, humor, wit. I loved her for all of these reasons. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I loved her sense of curiosity and wanderlust. I was lucky enough to be her travel partner for some of my most favorite adventures. As I write this, I’m grinning with swelling memories of a spontenaous 36 hour excursion - one might even say diversion - to Paris. With Naya, everything was possible and would often simply unfold before us, almost magically.⁣⁣ On this particular jaunt, 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. It was fantastic. We were united in our commitment to discovery. And there was always a list of cleverly curated ideas in Naya’s back pocket, should we need it. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I cannot make sense of this tremendous loss. I will hold onto her and these memories for the rest of time, alongside our Glee family. Please hold space for her, her family, her beautiful boy. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ In absolute, loving memory.

A post shared by Dianna Agron (@diannaagron) on

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Condolences extended beyond the “Glee” crew too, with luminaries like Zoe Saldana, Viola Davis, Lili Reinhardt and others weighing in.

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