Following Naya Rivera's tragic death earlier this month, fans will get to see her onscreen one last time. According to Entertainment Tonight, Rivera makes her final TV appearance on Netflix's Sugar Rush, which premiered on Friday. The actor joined the baking competition as a guest judge for an episode that filmed in February, before concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic suspended production on many shows.
In the wake of her death, Netflix has honored Rivera by dedicating the episode to her memory; a simple note reading "Dedicated to Naya Rivera" appears just before the episode's opening credits. Early in the episode, Rivera tells the show's host, Hunter March, and judges Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo, that she often bakes at home with her son Josey Dorsey. "I have a four-year-old son, so you're kind of required to know how to bake at that point," she says with a laugh before revealing that Josey's favorite treat is chocolate chip cookies.
Rivera was first reported missing on July 8, after taking a boat trip to Lake Piru with Josey. After an intense five-day search, her body was recovered on July 13, with authorities reporting that Rivera had likely drowned after getting caught on something underwater or in a strong current. "The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting — it was un-anchored — and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back into the boat, but not herself," the Ventura County Sheriff told reporters at the time.
Shortly after the news of her death broke, many of Rivera's colleagues and costars shared messages honoring the actor. "Our hearts go out to Naya Rivera’s family, especially her young child, in response to the tragic news of her passing," the team behind the YouTube and Starz series Step Up: High Water, on which Rivera had a recurring role, wrote on Instagram on July 13. "She was a vibrant and luminous talent who will always remain a very special part of our Step Up family. Her remarkable contributions to our industry created a lasting memory that will be carried forward by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her."
The following day, Rivera's family released a statement to Deadline thanking everyone for their support and well-wishes. "We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week," the statement read. "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."
According to People, the actor was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on July 24. A day later, Rivera's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, opened up about losing her in an emotional Instagram post. "There's not enough words to express the hole left in everyone's hearts. I can't believe this is life now. I don't know if I'll ever believe it," the Ray Donovan star wrote alongside a photo of Rivera cradling Josey in her arms.
"I'm thankful for our times and our journey that brought us together and gave us the sweetest and kindest smart little boy we could ever hope for," he continued, before celebrating the impact that she had on both his and Josey's life. "Life is all about good times and bad times but with Josey, it makes the bad a little less so because a part of you will always be with us. He'll never forget where he came from."