MEXICO CITY (CBSNewYork/AP) — Music fans in the United States and Mexico mourned the death of singer Jenni Rivera Monday.
The California native was a chart topper south of the border and was poised for stardom in the states, until a plane crash on Sunday cut her life short.
Family and friends gathered to remember Rivera at her mother’s home in Lakewood.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
“It is just so sad that we have to go through this, but that is life,” said brother Pedro Rivera.
“She’s the Selena, the Elvis Presley. She’ll be in history for many, many years,” said brother Gustavo Rivera.
The Mexican-American music star died when the plane she was traveling on crashed in northern Mexico on Sunday. The 43-year-old had just wrapped up a concert in Monterrey and was headed to the Mexico City area, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported.
All seven people on the plane were killed, including Rivera’s publicist, lawyer and makeup artist.
The Learjet 25, number N345MC, took off from Monterrey at 3:30 a.m. local time and was reported missing about 10 minutes later. It was registered to Starwood Management of Las Vegas, according to FAA records. It was built in 1969 and had a current registration through 2015.
No cause was given for the plane’s crash, but its wreckage was found near the town of Iturbide in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental, where the terrain is very rough.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help investigate the crash, and the board said Mexican authorities had informed them that Rivera had died in the accident.
Rivera’s soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles made her a superstar.
Rivera was a star of the Mexican regional music circuit. She sold 15 million records, and recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for “Joyas prestadas: Banda.” She was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011.
She was in the process of divorcing major league pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who once played for the New York Yankees.
Industry experts said the singer was on the verge of becoming a big name here in the states.
“She had just signed a deal, actually, to do a comedy wih ABC. So, she was really posed for mainstream success,” said Leila Codo, Executive Editor for Latin Content and Programming for Billboard.
Family friends said she never let fame go to her head. Rivera’s mother said she is sure her daughter is now singing to the Lord.
Messages of condolence also poured in from fellow musicians, celebrities and fans.
Mexican songstress and actress Lucero wrote on her Twitter account: “What terrible news! Rest in peace — My deepest condolences for her family and friends.” Rivera’s colleague on the Mexican show “The Voice of Mexico,” pop star Paulina Rubio, said on her Twitter account: “My friend! Why? There is no consolation. God, please help me!”
“She left a legacy of great music,” one fan from Passaic, New Jersey said.
“To lose somebody like that who was very influential, who was an idol to a lot of people, it’s very hard,” said another.
Born in Long Beach, Calif., Rivera was at the peak of her career as perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.
A mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the “Diva de la Banda” was known for her frank talk about her struggles to give a good life to her children despite a series of setbacks.
She was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and she publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.
Her openness about her personal troubles endeared her to millions in the U.S. and Mexico.
“I just liked the way she sang,” one woman said. “She had a great voice.”
“Her music really hit home. She sang about life experiences,” said another fan. “She’s going to be greatly missed.”
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