Cory Monteith’s mother, Ann McGregor, shared a heartfelt tribute to her late son’s co-star, Naya Rivera. The Glee actress’s body was recovered from Lake Piru on Monday, July 13 — the seventh anniversary of Monteith’s death.
“For the last 7 years the 13th of July has shattered our hearts beyond repair. There aren’t enough words to describe the pain we are feeling, we are truly heartbroken at the loss of [Naya Rivera],” McGregor wrote on Tuesday.
Rivera played Santana Lopez on the hit show throughout Glee’s six season run. Monteith played Finn Hudson until his untimely death in 2013. The actor died of a mixed drug toxicity involving heroin and alcohol.
“Naya, Cory loved you so so much. He cherished your friendship more than you will ever know,” McGregor continued. “From the laughs you shared, to the strength you gave him when he needed it the most. Cory truly adored you. He was in awe of your incredible talent, the way you gave everything you had to each performance; the slap in the auditorium was one of his favourite stories to share.”
In Glee’s “Mash Off” episode, Santana slaps Finn in the face and Rivera surprised Monteith when she actually hit him while filming the scene. They laughed about it in a sweet behind-the-scenes video from 2012 that has been shared in the wake of Rivera’s death.
“You once said Cory was like a member of your family; you will always be a part of ours. We’ll carry you in our hearts forever. We miss you. Friends reunited for eternity,” McGregor concluded. “We send all our love and strength to your beautiful boy, your family, friends and fans.”
Meanwhile, Heather Morris, the Glee co-star whose Brittany teamed with Rivera’s Santana to form the series’ landmark, inspiring same-sex couple, shared her own heartfelt remembrance on Wednesday honoring their “most beautiful friendship.”
In an Instagram post featuring several photos of Morris’s children Elijah and Owen playing with Rivera’s 4-year-old son, Josey, Morris recalled, “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.”
Morris also lamented the fact that she missed one last chance to talk to her friend. “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***ing 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.”
The actress ended her post by saying, “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 body was located on Monday, shortly after her family and Glee co-stars, including Morris, prayed for her at Lake Piru.
“Some of her cast members from Glee came to the lake and they were allowed to come down to the water's edge, and they, as a group, they prayed for her,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kevin Donoghue told People. “And it was shortly after that, that her body was located.”
Glee star Kevin McHale tweeted he’s convinced Monteith helped “find our girl.”
“These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people,” he wrote.
I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people. https://t.co/qsvThOJxL7
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Lea Michele, who was dating Monteith at the time of his death, also acknowledged the connection in her tribute to Rivera on Monday.
Rivera drowned on July 8 while she was boating with Josey. Her manner of death was ruled an accident by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday.
“The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged. No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy,” the autopsy report read, which was obtained by Yahoo Entertainment. “There is no indication from the investigation or examination that drugs or alcohol played a role in the decedent’s death, but specimens will be submitted for toxicology testing.”
Rivera’s family issued a statement on Tuesday thanking people for “the outpouring love and prayers” for the 33-year-old actress.
“While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister,” they said, adding, “Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”
— Updated at 4:26 p.m. PT with Morris’s Instagram post.
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