LOS ANGELES -- Jenni Rivera began her career hawking cassette recordings of her songs at flea markets, but a powerful voice, soulful style and frank discussion of personal troubles powered her to the heights of a male-dominated industry, making her 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 fans on both sides of the border. 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 -- former New York Yankees pitcher Esteban Loaiza -- 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.
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.
Many of her songs dealt with themes of dignity in the face of heartbreak. She would fill song requests from fans who had suffered heartbreak and setbacks, and would often pull women and girls onto the stage to personally tell them to keep moving forward.
Rivera's plane was taking her and aides to the central Mexican city of Toluca after a Saturday night concert before thousands in the northern city of Monterrey. -- AP