@nayarivera on Instagram

In July of 2020, Rivera and her son Josey rented a boat in Lake Piru, Southern California. When the boat wasn't returned on time, staff found it on the north side of the lake with Josey sleeping with his life jacket on board, but Rivera was not with her child. The actress, who was beloved for portraying Santana Lopez on Glee, passed away in July 2020 from drowning, at just 33 years old.

Rivera was missing for five days before her body was found on July 13. An autopsy later determined the cause of death to be an accidental drowning, and authorities determined that she likely saved Josey by putting him back on the boat before she died. Rivera was laid to rest on July 24, 2020.


On Rivera's 34th birthday, Ryan Dorsey shared a tribute on his Instagram, along with a black-and-white photo of the pair with their son.

As we remember her on her 35th birthday, we look back on some memories from her Glee years.

@officialglee on Instagram

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