Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

Naya Rivera's Family Have Spoken Out About Her Death Hours After Details Of Her Autopsy Were Released

"Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister."

Naya Rivera's family have spoken out for the first time since the former Glee actor disappeared during a boating trip on Lake Piru a week ago.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Rivera, 33, disappeared after renting a pontoon boat with her 4-year-old son, Josey, on Wednesday, July 8. Around three hours after setting off from the dock, Josey was discovered alone and asleep onboard by another boater on the lake.

Chris Delmas / Getty Images

A life jacket, believed to have been Rivera's, was found onboard along with her identification.

Josey went on to tell the authorities that Rivera had been swimming in the lake but "did not come back up" to the boat.

After five days of searching, her body was recovered from Lake Piru on Monday. During a press conference, the authorities said they believed Rivera's unanchored boat had started drifting while she and Josey were swimming, and that she'd depleted all of her energy getting him back onboard before drowning.

On Wednesday, the Ventura County's Medical Examiner released details of Nivera's autopsy, confirming that the cause of death was accidental drowning.

The attached document was just released by the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office regarding Naya Rivera, whose body was found yesterday in Lake Piru.

The statement read: "The cause of death is drowning and the manner of death is accident. 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."

There was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in her death.

Hours after Rivera's cause of death was revealed, her family released a statement describing her as a "beautiful legend" and thanking the authorities for their "unwavering effort" in finding her body.

Rich Polk / Getty Images

"We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week," the statement read. "While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honour her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit."

Gregg Deguire / Getty Images

"Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister," the statement went on.

"Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo Country Sheriff's Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya," the statement continued. "We express endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her."

David Livingston / Getty Images

"Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support," the statement concluded. "Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time."

Rivera's family had spent much of the last week on the banks of Lake Piru, helping with the search and rescue mission and waiting for news.

Rivera leaves behind her son Josey, parents Yolanda and George, brother Mychal, and sister Nickayla.

Ellie Woodward is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ellie Woodward at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here