Dozens of adoring fans gathered for a vigil honoring Naya Rivera on Saturday night at the lake where the Glee star tragically drowned last month.
The event organized on the Twitter fan page ‘Naya Army’ was held at an overlook above Lake Piru outside Los Angeles that was decorated with photos of the 33-year-old actress and hundreds of tiny mementos.
It offered fans a chance to say their goodbyes to Rivera by sharing stories of how she affected their lives.
Many praised Rivera’s breakout role as Santana Lopez on Glee, saying that her portrayal of the lesbian character inspired them to come out.
‘Without Glee, I swear I would not be here. I would not be alive,’ one fan said.
‘After seeing them on TV, I was like it is okay to be different,’ another added.
Fans gathered for a vigil honoring Naya Rivera on Saturday at Lake Piru, where the Glee star tragically drowned last month
Fans shared stories about how Rivera touched their lives as they stood in front of the massive makeshift memorial
Attendees practiced social distancing as they waited in line for a turn to speak at the vigil and leave mementos
Fans are seen releasing balloons over the lake where Rivera tragically lost her life last month
Fans brought a variety of different tributes to place on the fence overlooking Lake Piru, where Naya lost her life on July 8
Fans line up and listen as a speaker shares how Rivera personally impacted his life through her acting
A pile of dried flowers is seen next to a photo of Rivera and a few drawings left by fans
Rivera drowned on July 8 while out on a pontoon boat with her four-year-old son Josey (pictured together in 2019)
The vigil drew fans from around the US, with some people driving all the way from Oregon and Indiana to pay their respects.
Attendees practiced social distancing as they lined up and waited for their chance to take the microphone on a makeshift stage surrounded by flowers, candles and crosses.
Many fans spoke about how Rivera inspired them with her breakout role as Santana Lopez on Glee (pictured)
At the center of the stage a life-size poster of Rivera smiled down at the fans who left behind even more mementos than were already there.
Despite the tragic circumstances that brought them together, the fans kept things light and honored Rivera by dancing to some of her favorite songs.
Liset Ortiz, who organized the event, said: ‘It’s terribly sad but we wanted to celebrate her life and her talent.
‘We want to show how much love there is for her.’
The vigil was held just over a week after Rivera was buried on July 24 at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in the Hollywood Hills.
New details about the actress’ fatal accident were revealed in a death certificate on Thursday which said she drowned within minutes of falling into the lake nearly four weeks ago.
Rivera went missing on July 8 during a visit to Lake Piru with her four-year-old son Josey.
Authorities began searching for the star that night after they found Josey asleep in his life jacket on the pontoon boat his mother had rented.
Her body was recovered four days later in the lake.
An autopsy determined that her death was accidental, with no underlying causes or ailments. No drugs or alcohol were present in her system either.
The vigil drew fans from around the US, with some people driving all the way from Oregon and Indiana to pay their respects
An older woman speaks about how she was personally impacted by Rivera
Fans line up to write messages that the vigil organizers plan to deliver to Rivera’s family
Many of the attendees wore matching tee shirts with an infinity sign, butterflies and the words: ‘In loving memory of Naya’
A poster lists out powerful adjectives describing Rivera alongside hundreds of names of fans
Fans signed a Mexico gay pride flag that was fashioned to the fence alongside other touching tributes
According to authorities, Rivera’s last moments were spent saving her son.
Police said it appeared Rivera ‘mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself’.
Rivera’s family family shared a statement about her death last week, saying: ‘Heaven gained our sassy angel.’
‘We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week.
‘While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister.’
The organizers of Saturday night’s vigil said they will collect most of the tributes posted at the overlook and present them to Rivera’s family, but some of the items will stay at the site as a memorial.
A woman poses next to a stack of boxes spelling out Rivera’s name on the edge of the overlook
A fan pauses to place his hand on a fence covered with messages dedicated to Rivera
Rivera’s death certificate revealed that she died within minutes of falling into the lake while on a boating trip with her son