MEXICO CITY -- The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is confirming that famed Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash in northern Mexico.
It is the first official confirmation of Rivera's death, although she has been 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.
Mexico's Transportation and communication minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza tells Mexican television that the plane was found in Nuevo Leon state without survivors.
The U.S.-registered Learjet 25 went missing early Sunday after taking off from the city of Monterrey.
Jorge Domene, spokesman for Nuevo Leon's government, said the plane left Monterrey about 3:30 a.m. after a concert there and aviation authorities lost contact with the craft about 10 minutes later. It had been scheduled to arrive in Toluca, outside Mexico City, about an hour later.
Born in Long Beach, California, Rivera was at the peak of her career as perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.
A 43-year-old mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the "Diva de la Banda" was known for her 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 last March.
Rivera sold 15 million records, and recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda." She was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011.
The Associated Press