UNIVERSAL CITY (CBSLA.com) — Thousands of fans came out on Wednesday to celebrate the life of a popular Mexican-American grupero singer Jenni Rivera, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this month.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports an estimated 6,000 fans attended the “Celestial Graduation” in honor of Rivera at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City.

Rivera’s brother, Minister Pedro Rivera Jr., lead a memorial service honoring the Long Beach native that included a heartfelt remembrance from Rivera’s children.

“I just pray that I can be the type of mom that you were, who never gave up and only lived for us, and I thank you for that,” said Jacqui, Rivera’s second-eldest daughter. “And Lord I thank you because you made her my mom.”

11-year-old Johnny Rivera fought back tears on stage as well.

“Every day I wake up and think, ‘Why does it have to be her?’, but I know you’re way happier up there than you were here, and I just want to thank you for being the best mother you could ever be,” Johnny said.

PHOTOS: Jenni Rivera: 1969-2012

Rivera, 43, and six others, including her makeup artist and lawyer, died on Dec. 9 when a private plane crashed outside of Monterrey, Mexico.

The crash remains under investigation.

Rivera wrote about her death in one of her songs, saying she wanted crowds and a raucous party to celebrate her smile and tears.

“She was a wonderful woman. She just left so much behind, especially for us women. Be brave,” fan Elvia Avina said.

“She was a great inspiration for me. I feel like, through her music, she was there with me through all my really hard times in my life,” another fan said.

Ticketmaster released free tickets to fans on Tuesday for the memorial, which sold out in approximately 15 minutes.

Hundreds of fans without tickets were turned away Wednesday. Monitors were set up outside the theater allowing them to watch the proceedings.

“In lieu of flowers, Jenni’s children have asked that donations be made to the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation in addition to a single white rose,” the family said.

Donations can be made to:

Jenni Rivera Love Foundation

Wells Fargo Bank, NA

Account: 2016315711

Burial services for the singer will be held privately Thursday.

Rivera, a Long Beach native, is survived by five children and two grandchildren.


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