The father of late singer Jenni Rivera joined as many as 50,000 people celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday morning.
The feast is a Roman Catholic observance that commemorates the appearance of the Virgin before peasant Juan Diego in Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531. Her image, which the faithful believe was not made by human hands, was left on Diego’s cloak, which is kept at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the north of Mexico City.
Thousands of people attended a Virgin de Guadalupe celebration centered at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument-Olvera Street and Our Lady Queen of Angels -La Placita Church. The annual celebration, which got underway the night prior, included an early morning Mass.
Following the Mass, Rivera’s father, Pedro, who’s mourning her death and is a well known singer in his own right, sang at the festivities, a news photographer reported from the scene.
The famed Mexican “banda” singer, reality television star and Long Beach native was killed early Sunday morning when the Learjet she was traveling in went down.
“The airplane crashed about 70 miles south of Monterrey, Mexico, due to unknown circumstances while en route to Mexico City, Mexico,” according to Terry Williams of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is assisting Mexican authorities investigating the crash. “All seven persons on board were fatally injured including Latin singer Jenni Rivera.”
Rivera, 43, dominated the “banda” style of regional Mexican music popular in California and northwestern Mexico. She was one of the biggest stars on Mexico television and was popular on “regional Mexican” stations in California.
She was the star of “I Love Jenni,” a popular bilingual cable reality show, and had recently wrapped up filming on her English language big screen debut in a film set to be released in April 2013. Rivera had also just finished the pilot for an ABC television series based in part on her life.
Members of Rivera’s family were expected to travel to Mexico to claim her remains, depending on the status of the investigation.
Earlier this week, Pedro Rivera described the last time he saw his sister, saying, “I had a feeling that something was gonna happen.”
“And I hugged her and kissed her, and I didn’t know that was gonna be the last time I was gonna see her,” he said.
Searchers late Sunday found wreckage, but no survivors, near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon, according to the city’s mayor, who was quoted on the Televisa station in Monterrey. Rivera’s driver’s license was found in the wreckage.
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. It crashed after leaving Monterrey around 3:15 a.m. following a concert en route to an airport near Mexico City.
News of Rivera’s passing hit her Southland fans hard.
“She was a great singer, a great mother,” Jovana Ramirez told ABC7 outside Rivera’s Encino estate. “Everything for her was just fantastic.”
Young fan Briana Camacho remembered Rivera on ABC7 as funny and “a person not just famous, but she’s normal, like other people.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Jenni Rivera’s father, Pedro Rivera, sang following a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.