Regional Mexican and Latin pop artists and members of the music industry reacted to news of singer Jenni Rivera's death with disbelief, prayers and memories of a woman they recalled as a true star, whose friendships were as strong as her renowned onstage presence.
"The voice is no more but the legend begins," Alfonoso Lizárraga, leader of the Banda El Recodo, told Billboard. "She remains in our hearts. We have so many beautiful memories of her. With so many people who do bad in the world, that this should happen to such a great person ... I just don't understand it."
"Jenni Rivera meant so much for me when I started my career, about six years ago," said Mexican star Espinoza Paz, calling in Sunday night on a special broadcast of La Voz Mexico, the musical competition show on which Rivera was a one of the judges. "The first time I sang before an audience, at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, was due to her giving me the opportunity to open her concert. From there my career grew, and I am grateful for everything she did for me. We have lost one of the greats of Mexico." Paz spoke of plans he made with Rivera just a few days ago for her to record a mariachi album with songs he wrote. They were also to record a duet, "Y Si No Me Doy la Vuelta, Qué?" for his upcoming album, he said.
"The United States and Mexico are united by pain," banda singer German Montero said of the "Diva de la Banda," who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., but worked frequently in Mexico, where her plane went down en route to Toluca from Monterrey.
"This is a great loss for our music," Manolo Robles of Grupo La Leyenda, told Billboard. "She was a singer who transmitted so many things onstage, with her striking personality. There are few artists who have such an affinity with people. She had that gift. I was impressed with the way that she dominated the stage."
"I have so many memories of her," said Saul "El Jaguar" Alarcon, noting that he would dedicate his Sunday concert to Rivera. "There is one that sticks in my head: about four years ago when I was just starting my career, a went to see her at the Expo in Obregon, [Rivera] invited me to sing with her onstage. About four months ago I did a concert in the same place, and I sent her a Tweet reminding her of that time. She answered right away, sending me her blessings."
Jose Quiroz, the manager of La Original Banda El Limón and President of Luz Records, recalled Rivera's professionalism and talent. "We had the opportunity to work very close with 'La Diva de la Banda,'" he said. "We recorded the song 'Destino' with her. During that recording session, there was perfect communication between Jenni and the members of La Original. It was a very emotional moment that we will remember always."
We accompany her family in pain," said Victor Gonzalez, president of Universal Music Latin Entertainment (UMLE), Rivera's label. "Jenni has always been a persevering artist and businesswoman with clear objectives. She always had the vision to extend her presence to other areas of entertainment, and even other industries. That capacity has differentiated her from the a lot of other artists."
The news of the plane crash traveled quickly. By Sunday afternoon, artists as diverse as Ricky Martin, Pitbull, LaToya Jackson and Gloria Estefan had expressed their sentiments via Twitter.
Beto Cuevas, the Chilean rocker who sat with Rivera at the judges' table on La Voz México, tweeted, "Jenni you will continue to exist in the hearts of millions of people who will never forget you - one of those [hearts] is mine."
Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio, also a judge, introduced the "La Voz México" special Sunday night on Televisa's Canal 2.
"Jenni is a woman -- and I say this because she will never die, her music will live within us -- who loved her fans," said a shaken Rubio. "She told me that over the last eight years she had lived for them. A happy woman, a woman who always had a solution for everything, A woman with sassiness and lust for life, with an incredible strength. A woman who taught me so much, one of those few women who change your life with one word…"
"If God took you with him it is because he needed a woman like you up there with him," Tweeted recent Latin Grammy-winning Monterrey DJs 3BallMTY. "Rest in peace!"