Singer Jenni Rivera Celebrated At 'Celestial Graduation' - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Jenni Rivera Celebrated At 'Celestial Graduation'

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Universal City, CA -

Jenni Rivera took center stage in front of over six thousand of her adoring fans at the Gibson Amphitheatre for one last time.

The two hour bilingual memorial was billed by her deeply religious family as her "celestial graduation." It was not an adios, but a hasta luego -- until we meet again.

"We're not here to mourn the death," said her son Michael. "We're here to celebrate the life and graduation of a singer, an entertainer, a diva, a fighter, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and more than anything, a mother -- the best mother."

He then called for 27 seconds of silence for the victims of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

A red casket sat onstage amid a sea of white roses as images of Rivera played on three big screens. Family members embraced and kissed the casket at the conclusion of the service, laying more white roses atop it.

Rivera's brothers and sisters spoke lovingly of the singer, calling her "the queen of queens," "perfectly imperfect" and an "eternal diva." Her father said Rivera's "happiness, smile and care for the public will never be forgotten." He then performed a song he wrote about his daughter, a woman who rose from humble roots to become "la Diva de la Banda."

There was one standing ovation after another to the singer who died tragically when her chartered jet crashed December 9th in Mexico, killing all seven people aboard.

She was larger than life, and in death, she is now immortalized as a down to earth star who shared her often troubled life through her music. It's something her fans loved her for.

Veronika Flores drove nearly eight hours from her home near Sacramento to be united with other fans at the service.

"I just came to say goodbye to a Latina woman, La Gran Senora," she said, invoking the name of one of Rivera's most beloved songs.

With her family, including five children and grandchildren on stage, it was a music-filled event with Latin singing stars like Ana Gabriel and Marco Antonio Solis offering their music as a tribute to the 43-year-old.

But it was her 11-year-old son Johnny's eulogy that left the Amphitheatre in tears.

"The person that everyone's talking about is my mom," said Johnny. "Mama, I've been crying so much these last few days. I miss you so much. I hope you're taking care of my dad and I hope he's taking care of you, too."

Rivera's second husband, Juan Lopez, died in 2009. The couple divorced in 2003.

She will now be laid to rest in a private ceremony.

Rivera's last album before her death, "La Misma Gran Senora," topped the Latin albums chart this week, selling 27,000 copies -- the best sales week for any Latin album this year. Rivera also holds three spots on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

She sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums. Her soulful singing style and honesty about her tumultuous personal life won her fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She was also an actress and reality TV star.
Born in Los Angeles, Rivera launched her career by selling cassette tapes at flea markets. By the end of the 90s, she won a major-label contract and built a loyal following.
She had recently filed for divorce from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and publicly apologized after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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