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Glee star Heather Morris pays emotional tribute to Naya Rivera

Rivera’s death was confirmed on Monday.

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Glee star Naya Rivera (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Glee star Naya Rivera (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Glee star Naya Rivera (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

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”.

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We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase. However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding. The last I had the chance to see you in person, I had left oranges outside our home for you to take. I wanted to say hi through the window but my phone didn’t ring when you called (which it never does, f*cking T-Mobile), so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you. I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you. I still listen to your EP on repeat because from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice. You sent me over 5 dozen SnapChat videos when you and Josey woke up in the morning and I kick myself that I didn’t save one of them. 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. You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (but still somehow respectful ). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen..you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted. We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures...our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I. 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.

A post shared by Heather Morris (@heatherrelizabethh) on

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.”

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Former Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned at a lake in California (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Former Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned at a lake in California (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

AP/PA Images

Former Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned at a lake in California (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

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.

PA