Glee star Heather Morris was seen leading her former co-stars as they paid heartfelt tributes to Naya Rivera on what would have been her birthday.
Naya, who was famed for playing Santana Lopex on the hit Fox series, died aged 33 after going missing during a boating trip at Lake Piru in California in July.
News of her death devastated her Glee co-stars, with the show’s creators, including Ryan Murphy, later setting up a college fund to support Naya’s son Josey, five, who she is survived by.
As her birthday came around on Tuesday, Naya’s friends were seen remembering her once again, as they shared heartfelt tributes on social media.
Heather, who had played Santana’s girlfriend Brittany S. Pierce on Glee, called the star her ‘angel’, as she shared a black and white snap of her and Naya together to Instagram.
She penned alongside it: ‘Happy Birthday my angel. I can’t write a sappy monologue because it’s just too hard…but I love you and I can’t describe how much I miss you..’
Chris Colfer, who starred as Kurt Hummel, shared a sweet picture of himself and Naya in character on the Glee set and posted: ‘Happy birthday, babe. Miss you. ❤️’
Also paying tribute was Kevin McHale, who fans will recognise for playing Artie Abrams. He shared a group shot of the Glee cast, including Amber Riley and Harry Shum Jr, with Naya as she was given a birthday cake.
‘Happy birthday, 🐝,’ he wrote, before joking: ‘No one else could get us to be this messy in public.’
Chord Overstreet shared the same picture to his Instagram story and reached out to Naya, as he said: ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY @nayarivera we sure do miss you a lot down here.’
Naya had been at Lake Piru renting a pontoon boat with son Josey. He was discovered alone on the boat and a search and rescue operation was launched to find Naya, with her family and ex-husband Ryan Dorsey pictured at the site as efforts got underway.
Her body was recovered days later and Naya’s death was later confirmed as accidental drowning.
In November, it was reported that Dorsey has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, along with Naya’s estate, to sue Ventura Country, the United Water Conservation District and the country’s Parks and Recreation Management.
He claims that Naya’s death was preventable and argues the boat she had rented with their son Josey did not comply with US Coast Guard safety standards.
Dorsey and Naya wed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2014 and welcomed their son Josey a year later in September 2015. The pair split after nearly three years of marriage.
Following news of Naya’s death, Dorsey paid tribute to the mother of his son on Instagram, as he struggled to come to terms with the loss.
‘This is so unfair…there’s not enough words to express the hole left in everyone’s hearts. I can’t believe this is life now. I don’t know if I’ll ever believe it. You were just here… We were just in the back swimming with Josey the day before. Life just isn’t fair. I don’t know what to say…I’m thankful for our times and our journey that brought us together and gave us the sweetest and kindest smart little boy we could ever hope for,’ Dorsey wrote.
‘I remember sometimes you used to get annoyed at me: “Ryan can you stop snap chatting!” Haha. I’m glad I didn’t listen to you because I have hundreds and probably thousands of snaps and videos that Josey will have forever and know his momma loved him more than life, and how much fun we had together as he was growing up. Life is all about good times and bad times but with Josey it makes the bad a little less so because a part of you will always be with us. He’ll never forget where he came from. We miss you. We will always love you. Love you Meep. 🖤💔🖤’
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