Heather Morris Is ‘Taking Time’ to ‘Honor’ Her Grief After Costar Naya Rivera’s Tragic Death

One day at a time. Heather Morris reassured her fans that she would be taking care of herself as she mourns the loss of her close friend and costar, Naya Rivera.

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“Taking a moment to honor my grief,” the Glee alum, 33, shared in an Instagram statement on Tuesday, July 14, one day after Rivera was pronounced dead at the same age. “Thank you for all your messages and prayers. Taking care of myself and my family comes first Xo Heather.”

Morris played Brittany S. Pierce, the girlfriend and eventual wife of Rivera’s Santana Lopez, for six seasons on the Fox musical drama. Fans cherished the romantic story line between the two cheerleaders and the actresses stayed close friends after Glee ended in 2015. Five months before the California native’s death, the former costars held “THE reunion of all reunions” at a Monster Jam truck rally.

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On July 8, Rivera was reported missing after taking her 4-year-old son, Josey, on a boat trip at Lake Piru in California. When the rented pontoon boat was discovered, Josey, whom the actress shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, was found alone and wearing a life vest. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department later told reporters that the little one watched his mother “disappear” into the water after she “boosted him onto the deck.”

Heather Morris Is Taking Time to Honor Her Grief After Costar Naya Rivera Tragic Death 2
Heather Morris and Naya Rivera Mediapunch/Shutterstock; Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock

After five days of searching, authorities recovered a body in the lake and confirmed on Monday, July 13, that Rivera had died. An autopsy later revealed that the Sorry Not Sorry author’s cause of death was “consistent with a drowning” and that “no traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified.”

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Hours before Rivera’s death was officially announced, Morris was one of several Glee cast members seen praying at the shore of Lake Piru. Captain Eric Buschow, spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, gave more insight into the group’s demonstration the following day. Since the Spring Breakers actress previously asked to be part of the search and rescue mission for her friend, Buschow believes she “might’ve been the one to actually have organized” the prayer.

“[Morris called] several times over the weekend and yesterday,” he told Us Weekly exclusively of the dancer. “As they were praying, we got a call that the body was discovered on the surface of the lake.”

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