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Jane Lynch Remembers Late ‘Glee’ Costar Naya Rivera as a ‘Force of Nature’: It’s ‘Heartbreaking She’s Gone’

Jane Lynch is still in awe of her late Glee costar Naya Rivera’s talent.

Related: Celebrity Deaths in 2020

“She was a force of nature, and it’s just gut-wrenching and heartbreaking that she’s gone,” the 60-year-old comedian said on the Today show on Wednesday, August 12. “I think that one of the things that kind of got lost when we were doing the show was what a force she was because there were so many talented people. She was one of those people. She wasn’t in every scene, but when she was … she just blew everybody away.”

Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester on the Fox series alongside Rivera from 2009 to 2015, continued: “I had three-page monologues, so did she. It took me a week to get mine – she would do them right off the bat. She’d be changing them and she had no problem with it.”

Jane Lynch Remembers Late Glee Costar Naya Rivera
Jane Lynch and Naya Rivera Shutterstock (2)

Rivera was found dead on July 13, five days after she rented a pontoon boat with her 4-year-old son, Josey, on Lake Piru in California. The actress, who was 33, was reported missing on July 8 after her son was found unharmed in the boat. Rivera’s cause of death was later confirmed as drowning.

Related: 'Glee' Cast: Where Are They Now?

“She was a great advocate and loved the fact that she and Heather Morris had the lesbian relationship on the show and how much that meant to so many young people,” Lynch said of Rivera’s Glee character Santana Lopez.

The Hollywood Game Night host also noted that Rivera was close with her niece, Meg Doyle, who worked on the set of Glee.

“My niece Megan was very close with Naya, and Megan always said that with Naya you felt like somebody had your back,” Lynch explained. “She was somebody who wasn’t going to let anybody mess with you.”

Doyle, for her part, shared a lengthy tribute to Rivera last month, sharing similar sentiments as Lynch.

“She didn’t know how f—king beautiful she was, but I believe she knew how talented she was, and I loved that about her,” she wrote alongside a throwback photo via Instagram. “Watching Naya perform everyday, whether she was on Glee set knocking out a three-page monologue in one take, or belting Amy Winehouse in her car, or performing a lazy striptease during our talent shows – it never grew old, she always took my breath away. People grow apart, drift in and out of your life. I always figured she would drift back into mine. Naya was a force. I feel lucky to have known and loved her. Tell your people you love them. Let s—t go. Life is short.”

Related: 'Glee' Cast Reacts to Naya Rivera's Death

Rivera was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles on July 24.

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