Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012.

Credit: Reed Saxon / WGBH

Remembering the 'Diva de la Banda,' Jenni Rivera

December 10, 2012

Lovers of music everywhere are mourning the loss of Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 9. Rivera was 43 years old, and leaves behind five children.

Rivera’s plane went missing soon after its departure from Monterrey, the capital city of Nueva León.  According to the Associated Press, Mexican authorities found a crash site in northern Mexico that they believed to be the remains of Rivera’s missing plane. They issued the following report:

"Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said that 'everything points toward' [the plane] being the U.S.-registered Learjet 25 carrying Rivera and six other people from Monterrey en route to Toluca, Mexico. The plane had gone missing after takeoff early Sunday. 'There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human’ in the wreckage,' Ruiz Esparza told the Televisa network."

With over ten studio albums, Rivera was known for her work in the “banda” and “grupo” genres. Rivera received both critical and popular acclaim for her music — she was nominated at the 2003, 2008, and 2010 Latin Grammys and sold 15 million albums worldwide. Rivera also recently won two Mexican Billboard albums of the year for Banda Album of the Year and Female Artist of the year.

Riveras’s fans extended support for the singer beyond a love of her music. Rivera was also open about her personal life, starring in several reality TV shows. Fans admired her honesty, and her willingness to speak openly about issues like depression.

“Jenni Rivera was a star,” remembers Maria Hinajosa, host of NPR’s Latino USA. “Beyond her music and the impact that her music had, what really resonated with so many Latina women following her was her honesty — the fact that she would the problems that she was having emotionally, or in believing in herself, or in trusting her voice…It’s not only a loss in terms of her music, it’s a loss in terms of young women having someone they can look up to.”

As Hinajosa notes, while fans will mourn the loss of Jenni Rivera, there can be no question they will cherish her memory.  

WATCH: Jenni Rivera Sings 'Culpable O Inocente'

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