Jenni Rivera's promising career cut short by plane crash

(CBS News) Fans of Jenni Rivera are mourning her death over the weekend in a plane crash in Mexico. The Mexican-American singer was popular with Spanish-speaking fans but she seemed that she was destined for a wider audience.

Jenni Rivera was born in Southern California, but the 43-year-old singer had legions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She was known as "La Gran Senora," the Grand Dame.

Jenni Rivera remembered by the stars
Jenni Rivera confirmed dead in Mexican plane crash

A photo taken of Rivera and her entourage shortly before her plane crashed.
A photo taken of Rivera and her entourage shortly before her plane crashed.
CBS News

After a concert Saturday night in Monterrey, Mexico, she boarded a Lear jet with her entourage. They took a picture (left). Ten minutes after takeoff, the tower lost contact with the plane. It went down in rugged terrain, killing all seven on board. Rivera's brother Gustavo spoke outside her family's L.A. home.

"The plane was totaled. Nobody inside survived. The bodies were unrecognizable," Gustavo said.

Hundreds of fans turned a plaza south of L.A. into a shrine. The city's top Spanish language radio station is playing her music all day: songs of love, struggle and survival.

Radio host Argelia Atilano
Radio host Argelia Atilano
CBS News

"Jenni Rivera was selling records like no other female has done in a genre dominated by men," said Argelia Atilano. "She's one of ours. She was born in the barrio, that's why she sings to her people and that's why she has a huge following."

She seemed on the verge of reaching a broader audience. The divorced mother of five -- already a "reality" personality and host on Spanish TV -- had just been tapped to star in her own American network sitcom. At a press conference after her last concert, she spoke these now haunting words: "I defiantly want more out of life."

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is helping Mexico investigate the crash. They'll examine maintenance records, pilot fatigue and weather. The plane had been involved in a previous accident in 2005, but was repaired and approved for flight. The investigation could take several months.

  • Bill Whitaker

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