Millions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are mourning the death of Jenni Rivera, whose performances of soulful ballads sold out concert halls and made the singer a household name for many.
Crews searched for the remains of Rivera and six others Monday amid the wreckage of a plane that crashed in a remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico on Sunday.
"The plane was totally destroyed. ... It is a great tragedy," her brother, Gustavo Rivera, told CNN en Español.
There were no survivors, and the singer's publicist, lawyer and makeup artists were among those killed, he said. Family members were planning to travel to Mexico on Monday as investigators work to determine what caused the crash.
Another brother, Juan Rivera, seemed to hold out hope at a news conference Monday evening, saying: "In our eyes we will have faith that our sister will be OK. We have no confirmation of her body being recovered, dead or alive."
The small Learjet plane that Rivera was flying in was 43 years old, the state-run Notimex news agency reported, citing the director of civil aviation for Mexico's Transportation Ministry.
Collecting evidence at the scene could take up to 10 days, Alejandro Argudin said, according to Notimex. The wreckage, which includes personal items that belonged to the singer, was spread out over an area that spans up to 300 meters (more than 320 yards), officials said.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that it was dispatching a team to help with the investigation.
According to records from the U.S. agency, the airplane was substantially damaged during a 2005 accident when it struck a runway marker near Amarillo, Texas. At the time, the plane's pilot reported losing the ability to steer the twin-engine turbojet.
As the investigation into Sunday's crash continued, fans, family members and entertainers said they were devastated to learn of Rivera's death.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had such a profound impact on so many," Universal Music Group said in a statement. "From her incredibly versatile talent to the way she embraced her fans around the world, Jenni was simply incomparable. "
Known to fans as "La Diva de la Banda" or The Diva of Banda Music, Rivera was well-established as a musical powerhouse with her Spanish-language performances of regional Mexican corridos, or ballads. For fans, the nickname captured her powerful voice and the personal strength many admired.
In recent years, she had been working to crack the English-language U.S. market and was reportedly on the verge of a crossover with a sitcom inspired by the success of "I Love Jenni," a Spanish-language reality TV show on Telemundo's mun2 network.
Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor Monday afternoon, Sen. Marco Rubio described Rivera as "a real American success story."
"She was a singer in a genre of music that's largely dominated by males, and she brought a powerful voice to that genre where she sung frankly about her struggles to give her children a better life in this country," the Florida Republican senator said.
Rivera sold 15 million records, according to Billboard, and recently won two Billboard Music Awards, including favorite Mexican music female artist.
But she started out small.
In an interview with CNN en Español in 2010, Rivera spoke about how she once sold cans for scrap metal and hawked music records at her family's stand at a Los Angeles flea market.
"It is very flattering when they tell me that I'm a great artist, a great entertainer, that when I'm on stage I can get in the recording studio and come up with a great production," she said. "But before all of that, I was a businesswoman. I'm primarily business-minded."
Rivera eventually became the owner of several companies, including Jenni Rivera Enterprises, which produced and marketed her music, a fragrance brand, a jeans factory and a television production company.
Rivera was nominated for Latin Grammy Awards in 2002, 2008 and 2011. In October, People en Español named her to its list of the 25 most powerful women.
She was beloved by fans as much for her music as her over-the-top lifestyle that was chronicled in "I Love Jenni" on Telemundo.
Born in Long Beach, California, to Mexican immigrant parents, Rivera released her debut album in 1999, according to her website.
She followed that up with two more albums, including the 2003 album "Farewell to Selena" -- a tribute to slain Tejano star Selena Quintanilla -- that increased her popularity.
Her father, Pedro, and two of her brothers also are well-known performers in Mexico and portions of the southwestern United States.