Singer and tv star Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash in Mexico, is shown here at a Billboard press conference in April 2012. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

Singer Jenni Rivera dies at 43

Millions of fans are mourning the death of popular Mexican-American singer and reality show star Jenni Rivera, “La Diva de la Banda,” as she was also known, following the crash of the small plane taking her and some members of her team from Monterrey,  Mexico.  She had performed in a concert and was heading to the region of Toluca, where she was also scheduled to sing.  Rivera was 43.  She leaves behind 5 children and 2 grandchildren.

“She never gave up and she was good to everyone,” said her father, Pedro, about her daughter’s legacy to Telemundo outside of his home in Lakewood, Calif.  “I want to thank you all for your support, and please remember her with all your heart,” he added.  One of her brothers, Gustavo Rivera, said the family would fly to Mexico on Tuesday to bring back her remains.  Rivera’s ID, with her picture, was found among the remains.

A California driver's license bearing the name of Jenni Rivera sits on the ground at the site where a plane allegedly carrying Rivera crashed near Iturbide, Mexico Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. The wreckage of a the small plane believed to be carrying Jenni Rivera, the U.S-born singer whose soulful voice and unfettered discussion of a series of personal travails made her a Mexican-American superstar, was found in northern Mexico on Sunday. Authorities said there were no survivors. (AP Photo)

A California driver’s license bearing the name of Jenni Rivera sits on the ground at the site where a plane allegedly carrying Rivera crashed near Iturbide, Mexico Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo)

The popular singer of norteñas and bandas was currently one of the top Latina performers, according to Billboard magazine .  “She has had 10 top 10 songs on Billboard’s Regional Mexican Airplay chart (including a No. 1); 8 top 10 entries on the Regional Mexican Albums chart (including four No. 1s); seven top 10 hits on the Top Latin Albums chart (including one No. 1); and one top 10 hit on the Hot Latin Songs chart. She has sold approximately 1,158,000 albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan,” states Billboard. Rivera was nominated several times for a Latin Grammy.

Rivera was the star of a reality show, “I Love Jenni,” on mun2.  The popular show was one of the network’s top rated programs. Rivera also had a show on mun2 about her daughter Chiquis, Jenni Rivera presents Chiquis and Raq-C.  

Today, mun2 and Telemundo issued a statement.  “Jenni was one of the most influential, authentic and captivating Latinas in entertainment. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, daughter and friend, who broke through the language barrier and connected with millions of fans in a unique, powerful and lasting way,” said the statement.  “She will be greatly missed.”

Just a few days ago the bilingual, bicultural Latina star  had recently announced she had signed on with ABC to do a comedy, “Jenni,” about a middle-class single mother and business owner. Rivera was also a coach on the Televisa show “The Voice Mexico.”

Rivera was born and raised in Long Beach, California, to immigrant Mexican parents.  She came from a musical family.

“I just want to thank God for sending me a sister who was so good and such a fighter,” said Gustavo Rivera, her brother, after news of her passing.

Jenni Rivera recorded her first album, Chacalosa, in 1996.  Apart from her children, Rivera had been married 3 times. The singer announced in October that she was divorcing her third husband, former Major League pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for teams including the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In a press conference following her Monterrey concert, Rivera spoke briefly about her impending divorce.  “I can’t get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other and ugly things happen to me like any other woman,” she commented, according to The Associated Press. “The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up.”

People En Español had listed Rivera as one of its 25 Most Powerful Women in October.

The website Latino Rebels pointed out Rivera was one of the first stars to raise awareness of Arizona’s SB1070 law.  It linked to a Colorlines magazine post that details Rivera’s participation in protests against the law.  “It doesn’t respect humanity and it’s racist,” she said at a rally about SB1070.

In 2010, Latina magazine asked “La Diva de la Banda” what she thought it meant “to be Latina.”

“It means that things haven’t been easy for us because the market is still dominated by males,” said Rivera in the interview.  “I want to be able to tell my people, my girls and my fans out there, that ‘yeah, we can do it.’ It’s not easy, but we can do it. And we can have fun on the way!” Rivera said in 2010.

“La Diva de la Banda” will sing to us eternally from heaven,” tweeted popular singer Luis Fonsi after news of Rivera’s plane crash.  “Rest in peace.”


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