Naya Rivera‘s family is mourning the loss of the beloved 33-year-old in the wake of her death.
As touching tributes have come in from the actress’ Glee co-stars, friends, and fans following the confirmation of her passing this week, the Riveras broke their silence on Tuesday to thank those who offered their support in the form of “love and prayers.”
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In a moving statement submitted to Deadline by Naya’s manager Gladys Gonzalez on their behalf, her family honored the star’s “amazing talent,” but more importantly, who she was as a person.
“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.”
They also offered their gratitude to the teams aiding in the search and recovery of the mother of one:
“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.”
The Rivera family, who were on-site daily as officials searched for the California native, concluded:
“Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”
It was one week ago when the actress and singer went missing during a boating trip with her son Josey on Lake Piru. After a nearly six-day exhaustive rescue and recovery mission, Naya’s body was finally found on Monday.
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Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub addressed their findings in a press conference that afternoon, stating:
“We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera. It has been an extremely difficult time for her family throughout this ordeal… our hearts are with them and we share in their grief for Naya’s loss.”
Speaking about Naya’s outing with her 4-year-old, Ayub expressed how in her final moments, she saved her son’s life:
“He and Naya swam in the lake together. 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. We believe that she mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
The cause of death was officially confirmed yesterday as drowning, with the manner indicated as accidental.
Our hearts are broken. Naya, gone too soon, will always be remembered, not just by her family, but the countless lives she touched with her talent and presence. Please continue to think of her parents, siblings, and son during this difficult time.
[Image via Brian To/WENN]