True to her nature – always looking forward, despite numerous personal obstacles – Jenni Rivera gave a very clear indication about how she wanted to be remembered by her fans and family.
“I want one last party at my funeral, where everyone can celebrate and remember my smile and the way I cry,” read some of the lyrics from the Mexican American singer’s hit “Cuando Muere Una Dama” (“When a Lady Dies”). The song goes on to describe those that will miss her most (“The love of my life will mourn the most”) and even elaborates on the celebrations she wished in her remembrance (“Drink tequila and beer, let the bands play loud, free the butterflies for me and applaud with your palms, because that’s how you celebrate when a lady dies”).
Jenni Rivera (@jennirivera) December 07, 2012
Rivera wrote the song in 2003 and reportedly sang the ballad at her very last concert Dec. 9 in Monterrey, Mexico. Footage filmed by cable channel Mun2 at the concert shows the 43-year-old seated, dressed in all-black as she prepared to sing another of her hit songs at the sold-out show at Arena Monterrey.
“I ask you that help me sing this song to my daughter,” said Rivera at the concert, making reference to her eldest daughter Chiquis. The two were not on speaking terms in the month leading to Rivera’s death in the aftermath of Rivera’s accusation that the 27-year-old Chiquis slept with her ex-husband Esteban Loiaza, whom Rivera announced she was divorcing in October after two years of marriage.
“She’s in peace,” said Rosa Saavedra, of Chiquis’ reaction to her mother’s tragic passing. “She doesn’t have children herself, but she knows that a mother’s heart always forgives.”
Chiquis, who hasn’t issued a formal statement to the press regarding the Dec. 9 crash, broke her Twitter silence regarding her mother on Wednesday, tweeting “My momma, my father, my confidant, my rock…my bestest friend, the strongest most beautiful woman I know, @jennirivera. You’re on my mind and FOREVER in my heart. I miss you and I know I’ll see your beautiful smile again. Te amo!!!!”
As for Loiaza, he told Telemundo that he was in disbelief at the news. He added that he had called Saavedra, but his call had not been returned.
“I want to thank him for all he did for my daughter,” responded Saavedra when asked about Loiaza. “God bless him.”
On Wednesday, the family gathered in vigil at patriarch Pedro Rivero’s home in Lakewood, California to sing Christian hymns on the lawn and mourn Rivera.
“This is what we know how to do,” said younger sibling Rosa Rivera on Noticiero Telemendo. “We want to share this with you and thank you for being with us.”
In other parts of the state, fans gathered en masse to remember the glamorous singer, who sold more than 15 million albums to date. From Corona, California, where Rivera still maintained a real estate office, to Houston, Texas and candelight vigils held across Mexico, fans mourned together, grieving the loss of “La Diva de la Banda.”
“She was such a kind person to everyone,” Sharon Valencia, a fan of the singer told KNBC.
Actor Edward James Olmo was similarly touched by his “Filly Brown” co-star.
“Jenni was just an amazing force. From the very beginning I’ve said that she could garner an Academy Award for her work in Filly Brown,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “She had a tough life, but she also had an extraordinary gift. She touched millions of people and she’ll be missed.”
Indeed, Rivera’s final tweets in the moments leading up to her death embodied her love for her fans, as she retweeted several fan messages and tweeted responses affectionately.
“My inspiration is always what I think my fans want to listen to. I often write about social problems. If I’m not going through it or I haven’t gone through it, I want to make sure it touches someone,” Rivera said of the music which won her so many millions of fans in both the United States and Mexico.
She said it herself simply, in a candid December 2011 interview with Billboard Magazine.
“I want to inspire other human beings.”