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Diva of Banda Music Jenni Rivera dies in plane crash

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

She was hailed as the Diva of Banda Music, had her own reality TV show and was in the process of conquering the tricky U.S. music market at the time of her death. Singer Jenni Rivera was in a Learjet that crashed in the mountainous region of northern Mexico that took the life of at least six others. She was 43.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rivera led a life worthy of the most melodramatic soap operas. Born in Long Beach, California, to Mexican immigrant parents, she released her debut album in 1999. The singer was also a single mom at the age of 15, the mother of five.

Rivera followed her debut with two more albums, including the 2003 album "Farewell to Selena," a tribute to slain Tejano star Selena Quintanilla.

Rivera made headlines in 2009 when she was detained at the Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash. She made headlines again the following year with the marriage to former baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

She announced she was filing for divorce in October after less than two years of marriage. It was her third marriage.

Heralded as "La Diva de la Banda" or The Diva of Banda Music, her Spanish-language performances of regional Mexican corridos, or ballads packed out theaters everywhere.

Rivera had been working to crack the English-language U.S. market and was reportedly on the verge of a crossover with a sitcom inspired by the success of "I Love Jenni," a Spanish-language reality TV show on Telemundo's mun2 network.

Selling 15 million records, Rivera recently won two Billboard Music Awards, including favorite Mexican music female artist.

Authorities continue to search for her remains amid the wreckage of a plane that crashed in a remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico this weekend.

Six other people were killed, including Rivera's publicist, lawyer and makeup artists. Family members were set to travel to Mexico as investigators work to determine what caused the crash.

The small Learjet plane that Rivera was flying in was 43 years old, the state-run Notimex news agency reported, citing the director of civil aviation for Mexico's Transportation Ministry.

Collecting evidence at the scene could take up to 10 days. The plane's wreckage included personal items that belonged to the singer and was spread out over an area of more than 320 yards, officials said.

"The world rarely sees someone who has had such a profound impact on so many," Universal Music Group said in a statement. "From her incredibly versatile talent to the way she embraced her fans around the world, Jenni was simply incomparable."

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