On July 8, actor Naya Rivera — known for her role as Santana Lopez on “Glee” — went missing after renting a boat to go out on Like Piru in Ventura County, California with her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. Josey was later found asleep in the boat alone. After an extensive five-day search, the former “Glee” star’s body was recovered from the lake on July 13. An autopsy confirmed that she died as a result of drowning.
According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera “must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
In the wake of the tragic death of the 33-year-old, the creators of “Glee” announced they are in the process of setting up a college fund for her son.
In a joint statement, producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan paid tribute to their late colleague.
“Naya could act, she could sing (could she ever sing!),” they wrote. “She could nail a joke as well as she could crush you with an emotional scene. She could move between being scary tough and deeply vulnerable with ease. She was a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around.”
They went on to praise Rivera’s contributions to the beloved show, noting her “rare combination of humility and endless confidence in her talent.”
Their full statement was tweeted out by 20th Century Fox TV on July 14:
— 20th Television (@20thTelevision) July 14, 2020
“Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the ‘Glee’ family and her son Josey,” they continued. “The three of us are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.”
On July 7, just one day before she went missing, Rivera tweeted out this sweet photo of herself with Josey, captioning it, “Just the two of us”:
just the two of us pic.twitter.com/wCunAlGJ1B
— Naya Rivera (@NayaRivera) July 7, 2020
Our deepest condolences go out to Rivera’s friends and family during this difficult time.