Saturday 24 March 2018

Singer feared dead in plane crash

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera is believed to have died in an air crash (AP)
Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera is believed to have died in an air crash (AP)

Mexico's music world is mourning US-born singer Jenni Rivera, who is presumed dead after a plane crash.

The 43-year-old's soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles had made her a Mexican-American superstar.

Authorities have not confirmed her death, but relatives in the US said they have few doubts that she was on a Learjet 25 which disintegrated on impact in rugged territory in Nuevo Leon state in northern Mexico on Sunday.

"My son Lupillo told me that effectively it was Jenni's plane that crashed and that everyone on board died," her father, Pedro Rivera, told dozens of reporters gathered in front of his Los Angeles-area home. "I believe my daughter's body is unrecognisable." He said his son would be flying to Monterrey to identify her presumed remains.

Messages of condolence poured in from fellow musicians and celebrities.

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!"

Born in Long Beach, California, 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 family despite a series of setbacks. She was recently divorced from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and publicly apologised after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.

Rivera 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.

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. A mangled California driver's licence with Rivera's name and photograph was found in the crash site debris.

Press Association

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