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Naya Rivera’s family requests privacy, says heaven gained a ‘sassy angel’

Photo credit: Bang media

Naya Rivera‘s family says heaven has gained a “sassy angel” as they thanked fans for their love and prayers in their first statement since her death.

The “Glee” actress tragically died after a boating accident in Lake Piru, California and her family has spoken for the first time to thank the teams that tirelessly searched for Naya and those who had had the actress and her family in their thoughts.

Her manager Gladyz Gonzalez told Deadline in a statement on behalf of the family: “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. Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for your commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her friends, colleagues, and fans for your continuous support. Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”

On Tuesday, July, 14, Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Naya’s cause of death was drowning.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement: “The circumstances and visual characteristics all indicated that the body was that of Naya Rivera and the identity has been confirmed by dental comparison. The body has been x-rayed and a full autopsy has been performed. The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged. No traumatic injuries or disease processes were identified at autopsy.”