Mexico’s music world mourned Jenni Rivera, the US-born singer presumed killed in a plane crash whose soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles had made her a Mexican-American superstar.
The 43-year-old 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.
Authorities have not confirmed her death, but Rivera’s relatives in the US say they have few doubts that she was on the Learjet 25 that disintegrated on impact Sunday in rugged territory in Nuevo Leon state in northern Mexico. Wreckage was scattered across several football fields’ worth of terrain.
“My son Lupillo told me that effectively it was Jenni’s plane that crashed and that everyone on board died. I believe my daughter’s body is unrecognizable”, her father, Pedro Rivera, told dozens of reporters gathered in front of his Los Angeles-area home.
Jenni’s brother, Pastor Pedro Rivera Jr. said, “We may be sad, but when God has the last word for all of us in our last days, it’s time to go. And this was the way Jenni had to go.”
Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said “everything points toward” the wreckage belonging to the plane carrying Rivera and six other people to Toluca, outside Mexico City, from Monterrey, where the singer had just given a concert. “There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human in the wreckage found in the state of Nuevo Leon. The impact was so powerful that the remains of the plane “are scattered over an area of 250 to 300 metres. It is almost unrecognizable”, Ruiz Esparza said.
A mangled California driver’s license with Rivera’s name and picture was found in the crash site debris. 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.
Messages of condolence continue to pour in from fellow musicians and celebrities.