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The world is mourning the shocking death of beloved Mexican-American music sensation Jenni Rivera, who perished this past weekend when her plane crashed shortly after taking off from Monterrey, Mexico.
As authorities continue to piece together the details of the tragedy, we take a look back at a life snuffed out too soon—one lived under an adoring public spotlight, but one with own share of personal heartaches and triumphs.
Here are 10 things to know about the incomparable star.
1. She Knew a Thing or Two About Making Hits: As far as music careers go, Rivera's was massive: She released 12 major-label albums and sold 15 million copies, becoming a key player among Latin-music biggies. She officially burst onto the scene in 1995 with her debut album La Chacalosa and racked up a string of Grammy nominations, beginning in 2002.
2. She Headlined the Wildly Successful TV Series I Love Jenni: Rivera scored major TV success with her hit reality show, which aired on mun2. The program, which focused on the intersection of her personal and professional lives, premiered in March 2011 and was set to enter its third season. When E! News caught up with Rivera last February, she told us how she loved that the show "is about me, [a] Mexican girl from Long Beach," raising the five kids as a single mom. "So you see Jenni the mom, singer, grandma," she said.
3. She Was Coach on The Voice's Mexican Spinoff: Rivera was generous when it came to sharing her deep experience in the music biz: The singer joined the second season of Mexico's offshoot of The Voice as a coach, where she mentored up-and-coming Latin singers. The show was put on hold following Rivera's death, but producers announced that it will resume this Sunday.
4. Her Personal Life Saw Its Fair Share of Turmoil: Thrice married, Rivera also nabbed headlines for her personal drama. Her first husband was convicted of molesting her daughter and sister and was sentenced to 31 years behind bars. And Rivera herself was once detained at an airport in Mexico City for toting $52,000 in cash but declared she was carrying less than half of that.
5. She Was in the Middle of a Divorce: In October, Rivera filed for divorce from her third husband, Esteban Loaiza, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple, who never had any children together, married back in September 2010 but separated in September of this year. Their split was rumored to be a major storyline for her reality show's third season. Still, she remained a busy working mom: Rivera had five children from her previous two marriages.
6. She Dealt With a Health Scare: When E! News caught up with Rivera earlier this year—the star even gave us a tour of her gorgeous Encino house—she revealed that she underwent surgery to remove a lump in her breast. The tumor turned out to be benign, but the star told us she felt it was important to set an example to her female fans to get be vigilant about their health and get tested. "If Jenni got through it, they can," she said.
7. She Was Headed for Big Things: In January of this year, Rivera turned heads at the Sundance Film Festival for her role the indie flick Filly Brown, in which she played the incarcerated, drug-addicted mother of an aspiring L.A. rapper. The film generated considerable buzz, and costar Edward James Olmos has openly sung her praises, calling her performance Oscar-worthy.
8. She Was Set to Make a Splash on the Small Screen: At the time of her death, Rivera was developing a sitcom with ABC—a major crossover bid that would have introduced her to a larger audience. The sitcom's premise was one that hit particularly close to home: Rivera was reportedly set to star as a Mexican-American singer-actress also struggling to make it as a single mom.
9. People Often Confused Her With J.Lo—and That Was Totally Fine With Her: Despite her superstar status, Rivera knew how to keep a healthy sense of humor about herself, and her fame. When E! News caught up with Rivera earlier this year, she admitted that people often mistook her for Jennifer Lopez. "My name is Jenni," she'd supposedly tell folks, to which they'd respond, "Oh, you're J.Lo." She'd joke that instead of being from the block, "I'm from the barrio!" She also saw the gaffe as a great chance to be proud of her full figure. "I'm twice [Lopez's] size, which I embrace," she told us.
10. She Wanted to Be Oprah: Rivera dreamed big—and that included making a run for the Queen of Talk's throne. "I want to be the Mexican-American Oprah Winfrey," she told The Huffington Post in July. "That's a small goal, isn't it?" Indeed, she knew exactly how far she wanted to go: "That's something that I want. And of course not just to host, I want to OWN it! So, that's in my future."