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Chris Colfer remembers Naya Rivera as 'cool older sister': 'You knew she'd have your back'

Chris Colfer paid tribute to his late "Glee" co-star Naya Rivera following the actress' death at age 33. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 2 | Chris Colfer paid tribute to his late "Glee" co-star Naya Rivera following the actress' death at age 33. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- Chris Colfer remembers his former Glee co-star Naya Rivera as a "cool older sister" who always had his back.

The 30-year-old actor paid tribute to Rivera in an essay for Variety published Tuesday following the actress' death at age 33.

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Colfer and Rivera played Kurt Hummel and Santana Lopez on Glee, which had a six-season run on Fox from 2009 to 2015. Although their characters often sparred, Colfer said Rivera herself was a talented and caring person.

"In fact, the process of losing her has been such a nightmare, I find myself wondering if Naya was even real or if she was just a dream all along," Colfer wrote. "How could a human being be that talented, that hilarious and that beautiful at once? How could one person be responsible for so much joy and be the subject of so many wonderful memories?"

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Colfer said watching Rivera perform was "like watching magic unfold before your eyes" and that the actress "could tell a whole story with one expression." He also remembered the actress as a great friend.

"She was the cool older sister you went to for advice, to blow off steam, or to get the hottest take on the latest gossip," Colfer said. "Just being in Naya's presence made you feel protected and regardless of the situation, you knew she'd have your back."

Colfer said Rivera's "greatest talent of all" was being a mother to Josey, her 4-year-old son with her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey.

"Naya leaves behind a void that only Naya herself could fill. To have a friend like her, even briefly, is to be blessed beyond belief," Colfer said. "Her loss is a tragic reminder to celebrate every moment we possibly can with the people we love because the only thing we know for certain about life is how fragile it can be."

Rivera went missing July 8 during an outing with her son on a rented boat at Lake Piru in California, and was presumed dead by drowning. Her son, who was found alone on the boat, said he saw Rivera disappear under the water. Rivera's body was found July 13.

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Former Glee star Heather Morris honored Rivera in a video Monday by dancing to Rivera's song "Radio Silence."

Glee alums Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz and Rivera's ex-fiancé, rapper Big Sean, also paid tribute to the actress on social media following her death.

Notable deaths of 2020

Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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