The Glee star died on July 8, 2020 aged 33 after accidentally drowning while boating at Lake Piru, California. Today marks the first anniversary of her death and fans around the world are mourning the loss of the beloved star.
Smart Guy actor Tahj, who dated Naya on and off throughout their adolescence years, has revealed his plans to visit her resting place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood to mark the occasion on Thursday.
Speaking to E! News, the TV star said: ‘She was just so special on so many levels. We basically grew up together and grew into adulthood together, so for me to say she never switched up, it means that holds heavy. And she was just real all the time and just Naya.’
He then shared his most valued lesson from his time spent with Naya, and added: ‘Just respecting women in general. We dated as youngsters, we dated as teenagers [and into our early 20s] so I kind of hit every moment of life and growth into adulthood with her. I experienced it all with her.’
Tahj acknowledged how difficult it must be for Naya’s family on the first anniversary and admitted: ‘I know I’m going through my feelings, but nothing can ever… I can’t even imagine what it would feel like.
‘Yes, I have my own feelings and emotions about her and what happened but they can’t relate,’ to what her immediate family has gone through.
He added: ‘I want to give respect to their grief and they’re family to me and always have…I’m just thankful that I am still able to keep in contact with them.’
‘I’m probably just going to spend some time with her where she is right now at her site. I’ve been there before, obviously, but I think that’s the main thing that I want to do.’
After Naya’s death was confirmed, Tahj shared sweet photos from their childhood including two of them at prom together and one of them hugging at a party.
Naya disappeared while out boating with her son Josey, now five, on Lake Piru last summer. It’s believed Naya got into difficulty and accidentally drowned while swimming, but not before using her strength to put Josey back on the boat first.
He was found sleeping alone shortly after but Naya’s body wasn’t found until five days later. Josey has since lived full-time with his father, Naya’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, while also being cared for by her family.
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