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'Glee' creators to set up college fund for Naya Rivera's son as autopsy confirms actress died from accidental drowning

The actress's cause of death was revealed on Tuesday after her body was recovered from California's Lake Piru on Monday

Naya Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. AFP 
Naya Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. AFP 

The creators of Glee plan to set up a college fund to support the young son of former cast member Naya Rivera, who died last week in California’s Lake Piru.

The 33-year-old's body was found on Monday following a five-day search by rescue teams.

An autopsy carried out on Tuesday ruled her death was an “accidental drowning”. The examination showed no signs of traumatic injury or disease that might have contributed to the drowning, and gave no initial indication that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in her death, the Ventura County medical examiner said in a statement.

Dental records were used to confirm Rivera's identity, and routine toxicology tests were to be performed for the presence of drugs and alcohol, the statement said.

Naya Rivera's father, George Rivera, right, and mother Yolanda, left, with members of Ventura County Sheriff's Office are seen in a boat after Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru, Monday, July 13, 2020, in Lake Piru, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Naya Rivera's father, George Rivera, right, and mother Yolanda, left, with members of Ventura County Sheriff's Office are seen in a boat after Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru. AP

The autopsy's findings were all consistent with the expectations of the sheriff's office, which conducted the search and investigation.

On Tuesday, Rivera's family released their first public statement since her disappearance, saying they were “so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week". They added: “While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honour her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit.”

The statement said Rivera was “an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister ... Heaven gained our sassy angel".

The family thanked search teams for their “commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya".

The creators of Glee also released a statement in tribute to Rivera on Tuesday, and announced that they would be creating a college fund for Josey, 4.

“Naya was more than just an actor on our show — she was our friend,” Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the Glee family, and her son Josey,” the three producers said, referring to the child as “the beautiful son Naya loved most of all".

Josey is Rivera’s son with her former husband, actor Ryan Dorsey. She called the boy her “greatest success” adding, “I will never do any better than him".

While she wasn’t initially hired as a Glee cast member, it “didn’t take more than an episode or two for us to realise that we had lucked into finding one of the most talented, special stars we would ever have the pleasure of working with,” the producers said.

Rivera could act, sing, dance and “nail a joke as well as she could crush you with an emotional scene ... She was a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around,” they added.

Updated: July 15, 2020 02:25 PM

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