While the late actress may have been mostly known for her work in TV and in film, she was also known for stealing the spotlight during public appearances. Rivera rose to fame at age 4 when she starred on The Royal Family, and since then, she became a natural in front of the camera.
Unfortunately, Hollywood lost one of its brightest stars after she passed away. The Glee alum was reported missing on July 8, hours after video footage showed her renting a pontoon boat for her and her son, Josey Dorsey. An employee from the boat rental shop found the toddler who was 4 years old at the time alone but safe on the lake. Josey, whom Naya shared with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, told officials his mom went for a swim but never came back. On July 13, her death was confirmed once authorities discovered her body in the water.
“Based on the location where the body was found, physical characteristics of the body, clothing found on the body and the physical condition of the body, as well as the absence of any other persons reported missing in the area, we are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera,” Sheriff Ayub revealed during a press conference that same day.
Rivera’s cause of death was determined to be the result of a drowning accident, according to the autopsy. Despite struggling, Rivera was a hero in her last moments. “There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear, particularly in the afternoon,” Ayub added. “We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, the idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
A few days before she tragically passed away, Rivera tweeted about death and the importance of seizing the moment. “No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes, every day you’re alive is a blessing,” she captioned a selfie. “Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised.”
Keep scrolling to see Rivera’s transformation through the years.