Ryan Murphy and fellow Glee creators start college fund for Naya Rivera’s son Josey Hollis

Naya Rivera with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis

Ryan Murphy and his fellow Glee creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan are establishing a college fund for Josey Hollis, the four-year-old son of Naya Rivera.

Rivera, who played the character of Santana Lopez on the hit show, went missing while swimming with her son in California’s Lake Piru on July 8. Investigators found her body after a frantic six-day search and an autopsy confirmed she had drowned in the lake.

Based on testimony from her son, police believe she used the last of her energy to boost him back onto the boat but was unable to save herself.

The news was met with an outpouring of grief from Rivera’s friends, family and fans. The three Glee producers made a joint statement in which they announced they are in the process of creating a college fund for “the beautiful son Naya loved most of all”.

Paying tribute to Rivera, Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan described her as “a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around.”

“Her greatest Glee legacy is probably the humour and humanity she brought to Santana’s relationship with her best friend and eventual girlfriend/wife, Britanny,” they wrote.

“It was one of the first times an openly lesbian high school relationship was seen on network television and Naya understood what ‘Brittana’ meant to the many young women who were seeing themselves represented on television for the first time.

“Naya always made sure that Santana’s love for Brittany was expressed with dignity, strength, and with pure intentions. Naya was always moved by the girls who reached out to her to tell her how much Santana and Brittany’s love affected them.”

Glee star Naya Rivera

The body of Naya Rivera was found in Lake Piru on July 13 (David Livingston/Getty)

Demi Lovato, who played Dani Glee’s fifth season five, is one of the many people who spoke of how Rivera’s performance helped “queer girls” like her.

“The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world,” she wrote on Instagram.

“My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time.”