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Asian American cast members post emotional tributes to ‘Glee’ costar Naya Rivera

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Asian American members of Glee‘s diverse cast — Darren Criss, Harry Shum Jr and Jenna Oskowitz —  took to social media to mourn their costar Naya Rivera, whose body was discovered at Lake Piru in Southern California.

Rivera, 33, who starred in the TV series Glee as the character Santana Lopez, was at the lake with her 4-year old son.

Apparently, Rivera used the last of her strength to save her 4-year-old son before she died, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said Monday.

“She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ayub said at a news conference.


Rivera and her son rented a pontoon boat at Lake Piru Wednesday. The child told rescuers he and his mother had gone into the water to swim, but she did not get back on the boat. He told investigators he then looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water, Ayub said.

Criss, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, played the gay character Blaine Anderson in the musical dramady Glee, which debuted in 2013 and ran for six seasons. 

“She was bold. She was outrageous. She was a LOT of fun, Criss posted on Instagram.



“Naya made me laugh like no one else on that set. Her playful, wicked sense of humor never ceased to bring a smile to my face.⁣




“She showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to, and I was always so grateful for her friendship then, as I certainly am now.⁣





“Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel,” Criss concluded.



Shum, one of Glee’s original cast members, played Mike Chang. He posted his moving tribute in a form of letter to Rivera on Instagram. 

“You deserved more,” Shum wrote. “I hope all the good you have given to the world will be returned in abundance when you reunited with our brother in the heavenly skies. I’m so grateful for our memories.”

Jenny Uskowitz played Tina Chang on Glee, Together with Shum, the two actors were the rare representation of Asian American teenagers on U.S. television. She wrote on Instagram: “You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already.”

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