• Naya Rivera's family spoke for the first time since the actress' tragic passing 
  • The Hollywood star’s family noted that Rivera was not just a talented actress, but also an amazing human being 
  • Rivera was confirmed dead Monday after going missing on Lake Piru on July 8

Naya Rivera’s family issued a statement for the first time since the actress’ tragic passing, saying that heaven has earned a “sassy angel.”

In a statement obtained by Deadline, Rivera’s family explained that they are really “grateful” for all the love they have been receiving for the actress and her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. The family called Rivera a “legend” and said that she was an extraordinary talent.

The Hollywood celebrity’s family also stated that apart from being a talented actress, the “Glee” star was an exceptional human being and a great “mother.”

“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,” the statement read.

The family also expressed their gratitude toward the law enforcement authorities and people of Ventura for their commitment to finding their beloved family member. They also expressed a massive thank you to everyone, including her fans for all the good wishes and never-ending support.

“Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo, 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,” Rivera’s family further said in the statement.

The actress’ family concluded the statement by saying that heaven earned a “sassy angel.” They also asked everyone to “respect” their privacy during such tumultuous time.

“Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”

Rivera was confirmed dead Monday after going missing on Lake Piru in Ventura County on July 8. She was 33.

The star, known for playing the role of Santana Lopez on the hit TV show “Glee,” is survived by her son Josey, as well as her parents, George and Yolanda, her sister, model Nickayla Rivera, and her brother, professional football player Mychal Rivera.

US actress Naya Rivera had posted a photo of her and son Josey Hollis Dorsey on social media shortly before she disappeared
US actress Naya Rivera with son Josey. AFP / Chris Delmas