Fans of regional Mexican star Jenni Rivera said that they personally showed up to pay tribute to the singer who was a true American success who never gave up despite many challenges.
During the entertainer's memorial services at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles on Wednesday (Dec. 19) fans couldn't help but get emotional as they, along with Rivera's family and friends, bid farewell to the singer who for most of her career was an open book, often chronicling her own life on Twitter and television programs.
"I'm a fan because every time she fell in her life she would stand right up," said Melissa Rodriguez, 21, of Pomona who attended the memorial. "She was a woman and fought for what she wanted."
Miriam Gallegos, 30 of Lomita, Calif., said that that Rivera taught her that she, too, could do anything in life no matter what came her way.
|REMEMBERING JENNI RIVERA
"She's my hero and my 11-year-old son also calls her a hero," said Gallegos, who wiped away her tears. "She started from nothing, selling music at swap meets and became a huge star. And she did not need a man to get her there. I'm going to continue buying her music for the rest of my life."
Fan Samantha Diaz said that she once went to see Rivera's brother Lupillo in concert. He invited his sister on stage and that changed everything for Diaz, who also managed to get tickets for the memorial.
"What struck me most about Jenni is her charisma and that instantly made me a big fan," Diaz said. "She had a way of connecting to people."
Fans at the Gibson dressed like their idol, carried posters and became emotional when they heard tributes from Rivera's family and friends such as Mexican superstars Joan Sebastian and Ana Gabriel, who performed during the ceremony, which lasted for more than two hours and was televised on Univision and Telemundo.
Some fans were given a program at the memorial. Not everyone received the booklet, which featured a picture of a smiling Rivera on the cover and more than 20 glossy pages of Rivera tributes and pictures.
"The best mom we could ask for," wrote Rivera's daughter Janney "Chiquis" Marin, who most recently has been featured on her own mun2 reality program. "She's funny, playful, passionate and strict when needed and an absolute warrior when it comes to making sure we're okay!"
Even on the Internet, some fans were responding to those who tried selling tickets to the memorial for $300 each. "You're pretty pathetic trying to sell those tickets," one fan wrote. "They were free … not to make money off her."