Jenni Rivera, Latin music star, dies in plane crash

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Media caption,

Jenni Rivera sold more than 15m records of norteno and banda music

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera has died in a plane crash in northern Mexico, her father has confirmed.

Pedro Rivera, flanked by his two sons, told Mexican TV that his 43-year-old daughter and six others on board the plane, including two pilots, had died.

Officials have confirmed Rivera was killed when the Learjet 25 went down on Sunday in Nuevo Leon state.

She was born in California in 1969 to Mexican parents, sold more than 15m records of norteno and banda music.

She was a judge in the popular television programme La Voz, Mexico's version of The Voice.

Marriage troubles

"Everyone was lost," Mr Rivera told Telemundo television.

Civil aviation chief Alejandro Argudin told Mexican media that the plane had been "totally destroyed" and the wreckage scattered over a wide area.

Image caption,
Jenni Rivera was born in Long Beach, California

Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said there was "nothing recognisable, neither material nor human" in the wreckage, adding that debris was scattered across a distance of up to 300m (984ft).

A damaged California driver's licence with Rivera's name and photograph was found among the wreckage.

A US aviation investigation board confirmed on Monday that she had died on board the plane.

It was not clear what caused the crash.

Rivera, known as the "diva de la banda", had performed in the northern city of Monterrey on Saturday.

Although Rivera sang about drug trafficking, most of her music was about her misfortunes in love.

She was travelling to the city of Toluca, outside Mexico City, when the plane disappeared, officials said.

A spokesman for Nuevo Leon's government said the plane had left Monterrey in the early hours of Sunday and aviation authorities lost contact with it about 10 minutes later.

It had been scheduled to arrive in Toluca about an hour later.

'Ugly things happen'

Rivera was at the peak of her career and was especially well loved by her fans for the way she talked openly about her troubles, correspondents say.

She recently divorced her third husband, Esteban Loaiza, a professional baseball player who has played for the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Image caption,
Fans in California pay tribute to Jenni Rivera

On Saturday, Rivera said of her 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. The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."

Two of her brothers, Lupillo and Juan Rivera, are also successful singers of grupero music.

She also apologised publicly after one of her brothers assaulted a drunk fan who verbally abused Rivera in 2011.

"I am the same as the public, as my fans," Rivera said in an interview with the Associated Press in March.

In 2009, she was taken into custody at Mexico City airport after authorities found she was carrying $52,167 (£32,000) in cash, but had only declared $20,000.

Authorities released the singer when she said it was an innocent mistake.

"She was the Diana Ross of Mexican music," Gustavo Lopez from Universal Music Latin Entertainment, which includes Rivera's music label, told the Los Angeles Times.

He said that she was the top-grossing female artist in Mexico, based on ticket sales.

She emerged on the music scene in 1995 with her successful first album Chacalosa.

Rivera subsequently released the albums We are Rivera, and Farewell to Selena - a tribute album to Selena Quintanillas, a Hispanic singer who was murdered in 1995.

But she gained widespread fame after joining Fonovisa and the release of a 2005 LP called Partier, Rebellious and Daring.

Fans and fellow music stars expressed their grief at the news.

"This is sad. A bit in shock. Much peace to her family," singer Ricky Martin wrote in Spanish on Twitter.

Rivera was believed to have been travelling with her publicist, lawyer and stylists.

She leaves five children and two grandchildren.