The creators of "Glee" remembered Naya Rivera as a "real pro" and said they will honor the star by starting a college fund for her 4-year-old son, Josey.
"The three of us are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all," Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan said in a joint statement.
The "Glee" creators shared their memories of working with Rivera on the show, which ran from 2009 to 2015. Her character, Santana Lopez, wasn't supposed to be a series regular, but after seeing the talent and heart Rivera brought to the role, they knew Santana needed to be a bigger part of the show.
"She didn’t have more than a few lines in the pilot. But it didn’t take more than an episode or two for us to realize that we had lucked into finding one of the most talented, special stars we would ever have the pleasure of working with," they said.
"Naya could act, she could dance, and she could sing (could she ever sing!) She could nail a joke as well as she could crush you with an emotional scene," they added. "She could move between being scary tough and deeply vulnerable with ease. She was a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around."
Rivera also knew how important it was for people to watch Santana's romance with her friend Brittany develop. It was one of the first openly lesbian high school relationships depicted on network television.
"Naya always made sure that Santana’s love for Brittany was expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions. Naya was always moved by the girls who reached out to her to tell her how much Santana and Brittany’s love affected them. Naya’s obligation to them- and to all of her fans- was obvious," the creators said. "She had the rare combination of humility and endless confidence in her talent."
Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru in California on Monday, days after she went missing. On Tuesday afternoon, the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the body was Rivera's, adding that the cause of death is drowning and the manner of death is accident.
Her son, Josey, had been found asleep inside the pontoon boat Rivera rented. Police said the actor may have "mustered enough energy" to get her son back in the boat, but couldn't save herself. She was 33.