Mexican-American singer presumed dead in plane crash

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MONTERREY, Mexico -- The wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying Mexican-American singing superstar Jenni Rivera was found Sunday in northern Mexico and there are no apparent survivors, authorities said.

Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruíz Esparza said that "everything points toward" it being the U.S.-registered Learjet 25 carrying Rivera and six other people from Monterrey en route to Toluca, Mexico. The plane had gone missing after takeoff early Sunday.

"There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human" in the wreckage, Ruíz Esparza told the Televisa network. Authorities had not confirmed that Rivera was among the dead.

Jorge Domene, spokesman for Nuevo León's government, said Rivera's plane left Monterrey about 3:30 a.m. local time after a concert there and aviation authorities lost contact with it about 10 minutes later. Seven people, including her publicist, lawyer, makeup artist and the flight crew, were believed to be aboard, the ministry of transportation and communication said.

Rivera, 43, born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., is one of the biggest stars of the Mexican regional style known as grupero music, which is influenced by the norteño, cumbia and ranchera styles.

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The so-called Diva of the Banda recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year. Her famous songs include "La Gran Señora" and "De Contrabando." The singer, businesswoman and actress appeared in the movie "Filly Brown" and has her own reality shows.

Rivera had given a concert before thousands in Monterrey on Saturday night.

The mother of five and grandmother of two had announced in October that she was divorcing Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, among others, after two years of marriage. It was her third marriage. Rivera is the sister of Mexican singer Lupillo Rivera.

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