Heather Morris ‘Can’t Shake the Feeling’ Naya Rivera 'Never Left' 4 Years After “Glee” Star’s Sudden Death

Rivera was just 33 when she drowned during a boating trip with her then-4-year-old son

<p>Michael Buckner/Getty</p> Naya Rivera and Heather Morris attend the celebration of Glee

Michael Buckner/Getty

Naya Rivera and Heather Morris attend the celebration of Glee's Golden Globe nominations with InStyle and 20th Century Fox held at Sunset Tower on January 9, 2010 in West Hollywood, California.

Naya Rivera is on the minds of many on the fourth anniversary of her tragic death.

On July 8, Rivera's former Glee costar and close friend Heather Morris paid tribute to the late actress on Instagram, as she shared an old photo of them together, with her arms wrapped around Rivera.

"I can’t believe it’s been 4 years..boy how time flies," Morris began in the caption. "Yet every year I’m taken by surprise how much it still hurts. We grow up together, fell apart, and came back together in such a beautiful way. God you’re missed so much."

Morris, 37, who starred as the best friend-turned-girlfriend of Rivera on Glee, admitted that she "can’t shake the feeling [Rivera] never left," even now.

"You’re still here with us..guiding us to our highest potential," she wrote. "I miss you Nay Nay."

Related: Naya Rivera's 'Glee' Costars Share Cherished Memories: 'A Gift We Got to Be Around Every Single Day'

Rivera — who was 33 when she died — was reported missing on July 8, 2020, after a boating trip in Ventura, California with her then-4-year-old son. Her body was found five days later, with no evidence of foul play or suicide present, according to authorities.

Ventura County Sherriff Bill Ayub said in a news conference at the time that Rivera and her son Josey, who she shared with her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, had rented a pontoon boat and were swimming in the lake together when she drowned. "It was during that time that her son described being helped onto the boat by Naya... He told investigators he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water."

<p>Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic</p> Naya Rivera attends the LA premiere of Roadside Attraction's "Judy" at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 19, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Naya Rivera attends the LA premiere of Roadside Attraction's "Judy" at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 19, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Related: 'Glee' 's Heather Morris Admits 'Today Is Hard' as She Marks Late Costar Naya Rivera's 36th Birthday

When Rivera was still missing, Morris helped organize search parties to aid the rescue efforts and was on the scene along with other former costars and loved ones. After her body was recovered, Morris posted an emotional tribute on Instagram to her friend, as she shared photos of their sons playing together, which she said "meant more than anything" to Rivera.

Describing their friendship, Morris admitted they "went through a bit of a rocky phase" but came back together as she called Rivera "the strongest and most resilient human being I know."

"You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a f--- (but still somehow respectful). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend."

Morris continued, "I speak to you everyday because I know you're still with me and even though I'm feeling greedy that we don't get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart."

<p>FOX Image Collection via Getty</p> Naya Rivera and Amber Riley on 'Glee'

FOX Image Collection via Getty

Naya Rivera and Amber Riley on 'Glee'

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Last year, fellow Glee alum Kevin McHale reflected on Rivera's death as he recalled meeting her on the day they learned of other tragic news: the death of Cory Monteith in 2013.

"10 years ago today I was in London with Naya. We immediately met up after being woken up by the worst possible news,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. “We spent the day partly in shock, partly laughing at our memories, partly crying at the impossibility of it all.”

"10 years later, not a day has gone by where I don’t miss you - both of you. Thanks for sharing your light with us for as brief as it was."

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