Mexican-American music star Rivera confirmed dead

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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Jenni Rivera, the California-born singer who rose through personal adversity to become a superstar of Mexican-American music, has died in a plane crash in northern Mexico, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Monday.

Rivera, 43, began her career working in the office of her father's small Mexican music label in Long Beach, Calif. Gifted with a powerful, soulful voice, she recorded her first album, "Chacalosa," in 1995. It was a hit, and she followed it with two other independent albums, one a tribute to slain Mexican-American singer Selena.

By the end of the 90s, she won a major-label contract, and built a loyal following on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

A mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the "Diva de la Banda" was known for frank talk about her struggles to give a good life to her children despite a series of setbacks.

She was recently divorced from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and she publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.

Her openness about her personal troubles endeared her to millions in the U.S. and Mexico.

"I am the same as the public, as my fans," she told The Associated Press in an interview in March.

Rivera was widely presumed dead since the wreckage of her plane was found Sunday.

The NTSB is sending a team to assist Mexican authorities with the investigation. NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway says Mexican aviation authorities had confirmed Rivera's death to the NTSB.

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