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Naya Rivera’s family ‘taking one day at a time’ a year after her death: ‘If we could go back, we’d hug a little harder’


Naya Rivera died a year ago (Picture: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

Naya Rivera’s family has paid tribute to her on the one year anniversary of her death.

The Glee star died on July 8, 2020, aged 33 during a boating trip at a Southern California lake.

Her body was discovered on July 13, days after she went missing on Lake Piru, where she had been boating with her then four-year-old son Josey.

Rivera’s younger sister Nickayla told Good Morning America that what keeps their family going is taking things ‘one day at a time’.

‘And taking that one day at a time and living it to the fullest, loving each other to the fullest, and not regretting anything,’ she added.

‘Because I know if we could go back, we’d hug a little bit harder.’

Rivera’s younger brother Mychal told the US chat show: ‘One year without you, one year closer to when we will meet you again.

‘Your endless energy lives on. May you continue to rest so graciously, Naya.’

Her mother Yolanda Previtire said the family are ‘afraid of the sorrow being so heavy that we’re afraid for our own self, because this is hard’.

She said: ‘There are no words to describe what we’re going through. All we know is we have each other.’

Yolanda also reflected on the ‘beautiful morning’ when she spoke to Rivera for the last time.

She said: ‘I missed two of her FaceTime calls, and I called her back. And we had a beautiful conversation. The sun was kissing her face and she was just beautiful.

‘She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on and she was glowing.’

Yolanda said that she took screenshots of the FaceTime call, and was able to share these photos with the rescue team to help with the search.

She also praised her daughter’s ‘impeccable’ work ethic, adding: ‘She had this cool swag about her.’

Josey is being raised by his father Ryan and his aunt Nickayla (Picture: Ryan Dorsey/Instagram)

Rivera was best known for playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee.

Her former co-stars also paid tribute yesterday as they remembered their late friend, with Heather Morris – who played Santana’s girlfriend Brittany on the show – writing on social media: ‘You are the brightest star in my eyes Naya Rivera. I’m so grateful GOD LAYED A HAND and brought us together as best friends, mum friends, scene partners, and everything in between. 

‘Your legacy lives on in kindness and being “that sassy queen” in my eyes. I love you forever bebe girl [sic].’

Heather also got a tattoo of the phrase ‘tomorrow is never promised’, which was one of Rivera’s final tweets.

Kevin McHale, who played Artie, shared a picture of Rivera and wrote: ‘I miss you. Every single day’, while Jenna Ushkowitz said the actress was ‘always a light, always with us’.

Matthew Morrison, who played Mr Shue, and Chris Colfer, who played Kurt, also shared pictures of Rivera with heart emojis to their Instagram pages.

Rivera is survived by her parents and siblings and her son Josey, five, who she shared with her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey.

Her sister Nickayla has since moved in with Ryan to help raise her nephew.


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