SAO PAULO (AP) – Marilia Mendonça, one of Brazil’s most popular singers and Latin Grammy winner, died on Friday in a plane crash on her way to a concert. She was 26 years old.
Mendonza’s press office confirmed her death in a statement and said four other passengers on the flight had also died. Their plane crashed between Goiânia, Mendonça’s hometown, and Caratinga, a small town in the state of Minas Gerais, north of Rio de Janeiro.
Minas Gerais civilian police also confirmed Mendonza’s death, without giving details of the cause of the accident, which occurred shortly before arrival. Photos and videos show the plane lying directly under the waterfall; Mendonsa posted a video this afternoon of her walking toward the plane with a guitar case in hand.
The rising star performed country music called sertanejo in Brazil. She was known for tackling feminist issues in her songs, such as denouncing men who control their partners and calling for the empowerment of women.
On Friday night, the news sparked a wave of sadness on social media from all over Brazil, including fans, politicians, musicians and soccer players. Her Instagram account has 38 million followers.
“I refuse to believe, I just refuse,” Brazilian soccer star Neymar, a friend of Mendonça’s, said on Twitter after the news broke. The Brazilian government also expressed its condolences.
Her album “Em Todos os Cantos” earned her the 2019 Latin Grammy for Best Sertanejo Album. This year she was nominated for the same award for her album “Patroas”.
Mendonza is left with a son who turns 2 next month.