As news broke that Mexican “banda” singer Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash in Mexico, fans flocked to a Lynwood memorial service to remember the Long Beach native and often-time Los Angeles resident.
Family members confirmed Sunday night that Rivera died when the Learjet she was in disappeared from radar near Monterey in northern Mexico. Her brother, Gustavo Rivera, said he and another brother planned to travel to Mexico to claim their sister's remains. They had not made funeral plans.
"It's not something we want to see," he said. "But we gotta go pick up our sister. We gotta bring her home.
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"You could say we were like the Jackson 5. Now we're missing one."
Fans, meanwhile, gathered Sunday night a Mexican-themed strip mall in suburban Lynwood, carrying candles and photos of the singer.
The fans gathered around a painting of the Virgin Mary to remember Rivera and to talk about their favorite songs and how she was an inspiration for young women.
"She was my idol," said Debbie Islas. "She helped me through a lot of heartaches. She'll always be in my heart."
Fans gathered outside Rivera's Encino home.
"She was a great singer, a great mother," Jovana Ramirez told ABC7. "Everything for her was just fantastic."
Briana Camacho remembered Rivera as funny and "a person not just famous, but she's normal, like other people."
Rivera, 43, was a Long Beach native whose records dominate the “banda” style of regional Mexican music popular in California and northwestern Mexico.
She was one of the biggest stars on Mexico television, and is also popular on “regional Mexican” stations in California.
She kept residences in Mexico City and in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino.
Searchers reportedly found crash wreckage, but no survivors, near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon, according to the city's mayor, quoted on the Televisa station in Monterrey. Iturbide is 60 miles from Monterrey.
The plane was owned by a Las Vegas company, Starlight Management, and it had departed earlier from Houston, according to an internet flight tracking service. Initial reports indicated the plane had departed Monterey after a concert at 3:15 a.m. and was headed to an airport near Mexico City.
Two pilots and five passengers were on board, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation said in a statement released in Mexico City.