Tragedy struck “Glee” once more after actress Naya Rivera became the third main cast member of the drama to die within the last seven years.
Rivera went missing on July 8 during a boat trip on California’s Lake Piru. After a nearly week-long search, her body was found on Monday, confirming earlier fears that she had drowned in the Ventura County, California reservoir. The 33-year-old played cheerleader Santana Lopez on the show during its run on the Fox network from 2009 to 2015.
Prior to the loss of Rivera, two other main leads had also lost their lives within the past several years.
Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, was found dead in 2013 in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia. His death was ruled an accident due to mixed drug toxicity. The actor was 31 when he passed away.
“Glee” paid tribute to Monteith in October 2013 with the Season 5 episode titled “The Quarterback,” which featured most of the cast of the show.
Monteith was dating his on-screen girlfriend, Lea Michelle, at the time, and she had described working with him as one of her best experiences.
“I love working with Cory, I always have,” she told People in September 2012. “He really, really inspires me, and he motivates me and I think he’s just so talented. Working with him has been one of the best experiences of this whole process.”
Five years after Monteith’s death, another cast member, Mark Salling, took his own life by hanging from a tree.
Salling, who had dated Rivera, committed suicide two years after he was indicted on charges of child pornography possession. Salling was 35 at the time and was scheduled for sentencing when he died.
Talking about Salling’s charges, Rivera had said that it did not come as a surprise to her.
“He was always just a very dark soul to me,” Rivera explained to Entertainment Tonight. “I always felt like there was something that he was wrestling with.”
Rivera and Salling dated on-and-off for three years while the two starred in “Glee.” She was reportedly dumped in 2010 following advice from Salling’s publicist, who believed that being single would help his image.
Salling played Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the show, and his performance led to the actor being nominated for a Teen Choice Award for male breakout star in 2010.