Heather Morris has paid an emotional tribute to her former Glee co-star and close friend Naya Rivera, whose body was found at a lake in California.
Rivera, 33, was on a boating trip with her four-year-old son Josey Hollis at Lake Piru when she drowned. Her death was ruled an accident by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Morris played cheerleader Brittany Pierce on TV musical-comedy Glee, while Rivera played her on-screen girlfriend Santana Lopez.
The pair became close friends and Morris joined Rivera’s family at the lake during their agonising wait for news.
Morris has now shared a lengthy tribute on Instagram, saying they “created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding”.
She revealed details of the last time they met and said Nivera left her two succulent plants, adding “I look at them everyday and think of you”.
Morris said she listens to Rivera’s EP “on repeat,” because “from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice”.
She added: “You always shared recipes and I admired your love for food. We vowed to spend every Easter together, even though Covid stole this last one from us.
“You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life.”
Morris, 33, posted pictures of her and Rivera’s children playing together, explaining: “We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures…our relationship meant more than proof.”
Morris added: “I speak to you everyday because I know you’re still with me and even though I’m feeling greedy that we don’t get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart.”
Rivera’s death was confirmed on Monday when her body was recovered from Lake Piru, a popular spot for swimmers about 56 miles north-west of central Los Angeles.
Police said her final act may have been to help her son back onto their rented boat before she became too exhausted to save herself.
Other Glee stars, including Darren Criss, Demi Lovato and Gwyneth Paltrow, also shared tributes to Rivera.
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