Jenni Rivera, soulful, troubled Mexican music star
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2012, file photo, Jenni Rivera, from the film "Filly Brown," poses for a portrait during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying Mexican-American music superstar Jenni Rivera was found in northern Mexico on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, and there are no apparent survivors, authorities said. (AP Photo/Victoria Will, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jenni Rivera launched her career hawking cassette recordings of her songs at flea markets, but a powerful voice, soulful singing style and frank discussion of personal troubles powered her to the heights of a male-dominated industry, transforming her into the one of the biggest stars of the genre known as grupero.
Her life was cut short at its peak on Sunday by an airplane crash in northern Mexico that also killed six friends and co-workers.
The 43-year-old mother of five and grandmother of two became a symbol of resilience for millions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Her fame grew as she branched out into acting, appearing in independent film, reality TV and the televised singing competition "La Voz Mexico."
She had recently filed for divorce from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.
"I am the same as the public, as my fans," she told The Associated Press in an interview last March.
Rivera sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums and won a string of Latin music awards. Her shows filled both the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Mexico's National Auditorium, a feat few male singers in her industry achieved.
In this picture taken March 8, 2012, Mexican-American singer and reality TV star Jenni Rivera poses during an interview in Los Angeles. The California-born singer who rose through personal adversity to become a superstar adored by millions in a male-dominated genre of Mexican-American music, was confirmed dead in a plane crash in northern Mexico, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Many of her songs dealt with themes of dignity in the face of heartbreak, and her shows were known for their festive atmosphere and her intimate interactions with her fans. She would fill song requests from fans who had suffered heartbreak and setbacks, and would often pull women and girls onto stage to personally tell them to keep moving forward.
The plane, being flown by two pilots, was taking her and her publicist, Arturo Rivera, her makeup artist, Jacob Yebale, and two friends, one named Mario Macias and another who was only identified as Gerardo, to the central Mexican city of Toluca after a Saturday night concert before thousands in the northern city of Monterrey. All were killed.