Big Sean penned a heartfelt tribute to his former fiancée Naya Rivera Friday, five days after the Glee star was declared dead following her accidental drowning in Lake Piru, California. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office believes Rivera drowned July 8th after saving her son from a rip current while on a boating trip.
“Thank you for blessing us all with your talent and presence,” the rapper wrote. “You are a hero! Not just because of how you saved your son, also because of the barriers you knocked down for so many people to make them feel confident in themselves and to stand tall and be proud when they couldn’t achieve that on their own.
Rivera and Big Sean began dating in April 2013 and were engaged by October 2013; however, the pair split up in April 2014.
“I appreciate and cherish everything that ever happened between us for making me wiser and a better person,” Big Sean continued. “I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real. I’m praying for you and your family and I know [you’re] watching over them and protecting them. Rest In Peace Naya.”
Following Rivera’s death, many of her Glee co-stars and producers remembered the actress who played the groundbreaking TV role of Santana Lopez.
“Naya wasn’t a series regular when we cast her on Glee. 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,” Glee showrunners Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan wrote. “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.”