The death of Jenni Rivera and the tragic plane crash that caused it

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera was just 43 – and on her way to superstardom – when her Learjet accidentally crashed in Mexico in 2012.

On December 9, 2012, a plane took off from Monterrey, Mexico en route to the city of Toluca. But shortly after takeoff, the plane suddenly plummeted towards Earth, plunging almost vertically and reaching speeds of over 600 miles per hour before crashing. All seven people on board the plane died, including Mexican American star Jenni Rivera.

Jenni Rivera’s death shocked her legions of fans, who had fallen in love with the daring singer known as The Banda Diva. She had shared her life with them, from her experiences as a teenage mother to her struggles in abusive relationships. Rivera’s admirers adored his powerful and emotive music, which stood out in the heavily male-dominated banda and norteña genres.

But her jerky rise to the top and the incredible success she had there came to an end that December night. According to later reports, Rivera and his entourage, along with two pilots, had boarded a plane that had previously been involved in a crash. Additionally, a subsequent investigation revealed a number of irregularities involving the two pilots themselves.

Ultimately, the death of Jenni Rivera at the age of 43 cut short the life of someone seemingly destined for great things. Although Rivera was already an icon in the Spanish-speaking world, she seemed poised to become a much bigger star. This is his heartbreaking story.

Jenni Rivera’s incredible rise to fame

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARASJenni Rivera at the 11th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 11, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For Jenni Rivera fans, part of her appeal was her difficult rise to success. Born on July 2, 1969 in Long Beach, California, to parents who illegally crossed the Mexican border with the United States, she grew up in a family of musicians, where her father encouraged her to use her vocal gifts.

“I used to force Jenni to sing the choruses of the songs we recorded,” said her father, Don Jorge Rivera, who ran his own record company. rolling stone. “She didn’t like it at first, but then she immersed herself.”

Despite her family’s ties to the music industry, Jenni Rivera’s success was by no means guaranteed. Rivera became pregnant when she was just 15 – and her parents quickly kicked her out of the house. Then, her 1985 marriage to the baby’s father, José Trinidad Marín, became abusive.

As Rivera told CNN in Spanish, Marín physically assaulted her because she wanted to go to college (and did). They divorced in 1992 when she discovered that Marín had molested their daughter and Rivera’s younger sister.

But Jenni Rivera’s grief became her redemption. Divorced and mother of three children, she reconciles with her family and begins to work for her father’s record company. And, soon, Rivera started recording songs on her own. In 1995, she released her first full album The Chacalosa.

From there, Jenni Rivera’s luck started to turn. Singing about her life, Rivera released album after album and quickly found an audience among Spanish-speaking women who had suffered similar setbacks.

“Her husbands and businessmen [called] she is fat, worthless, ugly,” her father said rolling stone. “They told her she would fail…but out of her suffering came her triumph. Today I am in awe [of] everything she did.

Indeed, Rivera quickly converted her musical success into greater stardom, appearing on reality TV shows, becoming an activist and selling out venues like the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. She also developed a makeup line, put her name on perfumes, and sold products like hair dryers and irons.

“It’s very flattering when they tell me that I’m a great artist, a great artist, that when I’m on stage I can walk into the recording studio and put on a great production,” Rivera told CNN in Spanish. “But before all that, I was a businesswoman. Above all, I am an entrepreneur.

Sadly, these are the cases that led to the death of Jenni Rivera. In December 2012, she arranged to fly between Monterrey, Mexico, where she had just performed at a sold-out concert, to Toluca, where she was appearing on the Mexican version of The voice. But Rivera and his entourage would not survive the robbery.

How Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash

Learjet 25 plane crash

Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty ImagesForensic staff are searching for evidence at the plane crash site where Jenni Rivera died alongside six other people.

On December 9, 2012, at 3:15 a.m., a Learjet carrying Jenni Rivera, her lawyer, publicist, hair and makeup artist, and two pilots took off from Monterrey, Mexico. They were to arrive in Toluca before sunrise.

But they would never get there. According USA today, the twin-engine turbojet fell off the radar screen about 10 minutes after takeoff. A subsequent investigation revealed that he probably fell 28,000 feet, possibly at over 600 miles per hour, before crashing.

“The plane practically nosedive,” Communications and Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said, according to USA today. “The impact must have been terrible.”

Jenni Rivera died instantly, along with the six other people on board.

But at first, her family held out hope that she had survived the accident. Although investigators found Rivera’s ID card among the wreckage, her mother suggested at a press conference that Rivera may have lived.

“I still trust God that the body may not be his,” Rosa Saavedra told reporters, suggesting, according to USA today, that Rivera could have been kidnapped from the crash site. “We hope that’s not true, that maybe someone took her and left another woman there.”

However, Jenni Rivera’s remains were identified a few days later.

“It is 100% confirmed that Jenni is no longer with us,” her brother Pedro said on December 13, according to ABC News. “It’s Jenni, and she’s on her way home now…God let us borrow her for a while, 43 years, and now God has taken her. I know she is in his presence.

Still, questions remained. As her fans and loved ones mourned her loss, investigators sought to understand what led to Jenni Rivera’s death.

The factors that led to the death of Jenni Rivera

After Jenni Rivera died at the age of 43, investigators looked into what happened in her plane crash. According Billboardthe destruction of the plane made their task difficult, but they found a few reasons why the plane may have fallen from the sky.

The General Civil Aviation Administration (DGAC) of Mexico explained that it was able to exclude certain factors such as bad weather, a fire or an explosion. Instead, they suspected the plane had a problem with its horizontal stabilizer. They also noted that the plane “was over 43 years old” and had been “flown by pilots at the extremes of life, one aged 78 and the other 21”. .

Indeed, the Learjet had encountered serious problems before its doomed flight. CNN reported that the Learjet had previously sustained “substantial damage” in an accident in which it hit a runway beacon while landing in 2005. (No one on board was killed or injured during this incident.)

The older of the two pilots, Miguel Pérez Soto, technically should not have been allowed to fly the plane. He was not authorized to fly on instruments and, according to Mexican regulations, he was too old to fly a 6,800 kilo plane like the Learjet (although he had apparently received authorization to do so earlier the same year). And the younger of the two pilots, Alejandro Torres, was not licensed to fly the plane outside the United States.

In the end, since both flight recorders had been destroyed in the explosion, all authorities could determine was that the plane crashed due to “loss of control of the aircraft.” plane for undetermined reasons”.

A judge in 2016 found that the company that owned the plane was responsible for the crash. According BNC NewsStarwood Management LLC was ordered to pay a $70 million settlement to the families of the four Rivera employees.

But for many, no amount of money could ease the pain of Jenni Rivera’s death and the remarkable work she left unfinished.

The legacy of the Mexican American star

Jenni Rivera Shrine

JC Olivera/WireImageA young girl kneels in front of a makeshift shrine erected following Jenni Rivera’s plane crash.

Today, Jenni Rivera is missed by both her fans and her family. She left behind her parents, siblings and five children, as well as an unfulfilled legacy as a superstar. According to Los Angeles Timesshe was on the verge of expanding her fanbase and becoming a multicultural icon.

Indeed, Rivera, who had sold more than 15 million records at the time of his death, had already embarked on several new projects. Not only did she sell many beauty products, but she also built a following on television, especially through a reality series that she produced and starred in.

Still, Rivera secretly continued to face hardships — even after finding success. In 2019, a Mexican radio host named Pepe Garza revealed that Rivera told him in a 2012 interview that she received many death threats, especially when she traveled to Mexico for concerts. Chillingly, this interview took place just months before his death.

At the time of the interview, Rivera seemed to have been completely baffled as to why people were threatening her in the first place. “I have no idea, there is nothing illegal about my job,” she insisted. “I treat people with a lot of respect. I have no problem with any group or cartel.

According to Los Angeles Times, Rivera also explained that a threat was so serious that the FBI had to get involved to ensure his safety. This shocking revelation – and the fact that his plane crash was never fully explained – has led some to question his fatal crash. Meanwhile, others simply wish his death could have been avoided.

But although her life was tragically cut short, Rivera leaves behind an impressive story. More than her talent as a singer or a businesswoman, she was also a role model for women around the world, who admired her strength in the face of adversity. As Rivera herself noted before her death:

“I can’t be caught in the negative because it destroys you. Maybe trying to get away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like the others and ugly things happen to me like all the other women. The number of times I fell is the number of times I got up.


After reading about the death of Jenni Rivera, discover the tragic stories of other celebrities whose lives ended prematurely in plane crashes, like Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd or R&B singer Aaliyah.