Flowers lie in front of a nativity scene as media gather outside the home of Jenni Rivera's mother in Lakewood, Calif. on Monday.
(Photo: Jason Redmond, AP)
Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY
ENCINO, Calif. - In front of Jenni Rivera's gated home in an upscale neighborhood here, fans on Monday left a small memorial of flickering votive candles, bouquets of flowers, scattered rose petals and notes.
The American-born Rivera, 43, who died Sunday in the crash of a small private jet in Mexico, was a singing superstar in the world of Mexico's "grupero" music, selling more than 15 million records.
Vanessa Casas, 28, arrived at the singer's California home with the words "R.I.P. Jenny Rivera" written into the dust on her SUV's back window. She said she was shocked when she first heard the news of Rivera's death.
"I got a phone call from my sister asking if I had heard anything about Jenni," she said. "I Googled it up, I turned on the TV, the news, everything, and it was there. We were just shocked. We still right now can't believe it's happening."
Rivera's independent, fighting spirit was noted by several women who visited the home.
"Her music, the type of person she was, she was a very giving and loving person to all of us women," said Casas. "I think a lot of women relate to her, going through what every woman goes through."
Casas' favorite song? "La Gran Señora. That's one of those songs we enjoyed to hear. All of her songs actually. I just went and bought a new CD from her (today)."
A trio of young nurses on a break from work at a nearby hospital arrived dressed in their scrubs to pay their respects. "She meant a lot to us," said Sandra Garcia, 30, from Canoga Park, Calif. "As women, she made us a little strong... she was a very independent woman. And she showed a lot to our Hispanic community, to never give up."
"It's just hard," said Jasmine Gonzales 21. "And I can't believe she's actually gone."
"The songs that she would play, they would somehow make you (feel) like it was your same story," said Maria Ayala, 22.
"She also showed you that whatever you go through you could always get up and be a strong woman, be independent," added Gonzales. "As a woman you could do so much by yourself and don't care what people think or what they criticize. Just follow your heart and be a strong person."
"She was everything. I grew up with her music. It's just really sad," said a fan named Angela, 28, who did not want to give her last name. "Coming from immigrant parents and being so successful... It's a big, big deal."
Eddie Rodriguez, 31, drove his mother Andrea, 68, to Rivera's home to say goodbye on his day off from work."We figured we'd come by and say a prayer and say our goodbyes," said Rodriguez, who translated his mother's condolences.
"My mother is not just a fan of hers but kind of looked up to her as somebody that helped the community after blowing up the way she did. And helping those that needed a helping hand around the community and around the area she grew up in. Not just for the Long Beach area, but all over Southern California. All over the United States. She was just a great person. A very tough loss."