Jenni Rivera's remains identified, turned over to singer's family 121312

Cause of plane crash remains under investigation

Music star Jenni Rivera's remains have been identified and turned over to her family, a government spokesman in Mexico said Thursday.

Rivera was killed Sunday when the plane she was aboard plummeted from 28,000 feet, Mexico's transportation secretary said. The plane crashed in a mountainous area 9,000 feet above sea level.

The remains of Rivera's publicist and the plane's co-pilot have also been identified, said Jorge Domene, a spokesman for Mexico's Nuevo Leon state.

The medical examiner's office in Monterrey compared DNA samples from the remains with a swab taken from the singer's brother, Lupillo.

The confirmation of her death closed the door on a sliver of hope that Rivera's family held on to until the very end. The family refused to say that Rivera was dead, even after officials said that no one survived the crash.

Now that there is no doubt, the family is planning her funeral.

Employees at a funeral home in Monterrey say they will receive the singer's remains, which will be cremated and placed in an ornate red urn.

Family friends said funeral plans weren't set, but there will probably be a memorial in Mexico before the ashes are taken to a final resting place in Los Angeles.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Two lawsuits against the company that owns the private jet accuse the firm of lying about its links to a businessman convicted of falsifying maintenance records.

Rivera, who was 43, is mourned by millions of fans.

Rivera and six others were thought to be aboard the plane, which lost contact with air traffic controllers soon after takeoff.

Known to fans as "La Diva de la Banda" or The Diva of Banda Music, Rivera was well-established as a musical powerhouse with her Spanish-language performances of regional Mexican corridos, or ballads. For fans, the nickname captured her powerful voice and the personal strength many admired.

In recent years, she had been working to crack the English-language U.S. market and was reportedly on the verge of a crossover with a sitcom inspired by the success of "I Love Jenni," a Spanish-language reality TV show on Telemundo's mun2 network.

Rivera sold 15 million records, according to Billboard, and recently won two Billboard Music Awards, including favorite Mexican music female artist.

In October, People en Español added her to its list of the 25 most powerful women.