Friends and Family Say Farewell to Jenni Rivera

Category: Entertainment / Dec 19, 2012 5:39PM EDT
Friends, family and fans packed Los Angeles' Gibson Amphitheatre on Wednesday (December 19) to say their final farewells to Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash last week. Rivera's family - including her parents, siblings and children - carried her red coffin on stage. Her brother, Pastor Pedro Rivera Jr, opened the ceremony with a prayer. Musical and spoken tributes punctuated the two-hour event, with the audience often breaking into chants of: "Jenni, Jenni, Jenni". Puerto Rican singer Olga Tanon performed, as well as a handful of other Latino celebrities. Rivera's father, Pedro, remembered his daughter with pride. "Daughter, how proud I am to say that I am your father. Your happiness, your smile, your affection for the public will never be forgotten," he said. Her 15-year-old daughter, Jenicka Priscilla Lopez, addressed her mother directly. "Mom, I thank you for being the best mom any girl could have. I thank you for caring for me although I didn't show that I loved you. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being an obedient daughter or a respectful daughter," she said. Tears flowed freely as her 11-year-old son, Johnny Lopez Rivera, spoke. "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my entire life. But I'm happy to say that my mother has moved on and just - is finally happy. And she's rested. Her leg doesn't have to hurt anymore. Nothing has to hurt. She's just fine. She's with my dad and she's with all of us. She's the best mom that anyone could ever have." Forty-three-year-old Rivera died when her Lear jet crashed 15 minutes after take-off, en route from Monterrey to Toluca. Born in Long Beach, California, to Mexican immigrants, Rivera sold some 15 million records in her career, won several awards and received Grammy nominations. A mother of five, Rivera was a renowned performer of the Nortena and Banda musical styles and was popular on Mexican television. - Reuters