Thousands flooded the hometown of the late Brazilian country music star Marilia Mendonca on Saturday to pay heartfelt tributes to the beloved singer, a day after she died in a plane crash at the age of 26.
Latin Grammy-winning superstar of Brazilian “sertenzo” music, Mendonca, died on Friday, along with four others, after a small plane carrying him to a concert crashed in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.
His body was taken to his home on Saturday in the central city of Goiânia, where crowds of distraught fans prepared to file his white-wrapped coffin into a massive public gathering.
Known for her melodious voice and raucous lyrics, Mendonca has long managed to break into the country music scene dominated by men and masculinity. She was a key figure in an emerging sub-genre known as “feminejo”, or music by women.
But his huge fan base consisted of men and women alike. Many mourners outside the stadium could hardly find words to describe their sadness.
“It’s a feeling so strong that we don’t even know how to express it. It’s a huge pain for all Brazilians,” 22-year-old Matthias Alves told AFP.
“It was a tremendous loss. It’s a blow I have no words to explain,” one of Mendonca’s songs, “U sei de cor” (I know it by heart).
Fans began to queue at dawn outside the 15,000-capacity amphitheater, where large flower arrangements came in a steady stream.
Goiás state governor Ronaldo Caiado said around 100,000 people were expected to attend.
The star who worked with him and an uncle, who died in the accident, were later to be buried in a small private ceremony at a local cemetery.
Mendonca’s creator and two pilots of the plane were also killed in the crash that saw his twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A shattered against rocks near a picturesque waterfall outside the town of Caringa, where the artist was scheduled to perform. it was done.
Officials said the plane hit an electrical tower a few kilometers from Caringa airport, but it was not clear whether it caused the crash or the plane was already going down.
Air Force officials were conducting investigations on the spot on Saturday.
Known as the “Queen of Victims”, Mendonca was known for her ballads of heartbreak and rejected lovers, but also for her singing of female empowerment and the need to “overcome” – her most Title of one of the famous songs.
He had 22 million subscribers on YouTube, 39 million followers on Instagram, and over 8 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
His death drew heartfelt tributes to celebrities ranging from Brazilian music legend Caetano Veloso to football superstar Neymar to President Jair Bolsonaro, who said the country was “in shock”.
“She was one of the greatest artists of her generation,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.
Mendonca, however, was not a fan of the far-right president, who has often been accused of sexist remarks and anti-women policies.
A wake-up call for Mendonca and his uncle was shown live on national TV, and drew wall-to-wall coverage in the Brazilian media.