“Heaven Won Our Sassy Angel” – Deadline

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On the fateful July 13, Naya Rivera’s family’s worst nightmare came true. After five agonizing days of a search operation at Lake Piru, the body of the former Joy the actress has been recovered. Rivera, a daughter, mother and sister, was 33 years old.

Naya with her mom
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The heartbreaking photos of Rivera’s parents and brother by the lake last week showed a family struggling with unimaginable grief. Yesterday, they obtained the closure by recovering their daughter.

And while nothing can alleviate their pain, in their first public statement, published in Deadline by Rivera manager Gladys Gonzalez on their behalf, Rivera’s family has chosen to focus on what Naya has brought them and how they will remember her.

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They also thanked everyone involved in the research who played for Naya while requesting confidentiality as they continue to mourn his loss.

Naya Rivera: a cause of death declared accidental drowning by a forensic scientist from Ventura County

Here is the family statement:

We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we mourn the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor his eternal heritage and his magnetic spirit. Naya was an incredible talent, but was an even bigger person, mother, daughter and sister.

Thank you to the men and women of the County Sheriff of Ventura, Tulare and San Luis Obispo for your commitment and unwavering efforts to find Naya. We thank and endless ovations to the heroine who found her. Thank you to his friends, colleagues and fans for your continued support.

Heaven has won over our sassy angel. We kindly ask you to respect our privacy during this very difficult time.

Naya with her sister
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Actress-singer Rivera, also known for her roles on Step Up: High Water and Devious Maids, disappeared Wednesday on a boat trip with her 4-year-old son Josey at Lake Piru north of Los Angeles. His body was found yesterday, the Ventura County medical examiner’s office today decided to accidentally die by drowning. In her last moments, she would have helped her son to get safe on their boat.

Naya Rivera is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George Rivera; brother, Mychal Rivera; sister, Nickayla Rivera; and his son Josey.

Here are two photos of Naya with her father over the years:

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