Marília Mendonça, one of Brazil’s biggest singers and a Latin Grammy winner, has been killed in a plane crash on her way to a concert.
The 26-year-old pop star died alongside her producer, her uncle – who worked as her adviser – and both the pilot and co-pilot of the plane.
Her press office said their plane crashed between Mendonça’s home town of Goiânia and Caratinga, a small city 220 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The aircraft was around seven miles from Caratinga, her destination for that evening’s gig.
Mendonça posted a video to her 38 million Instagram followers showing her walking toward her plane while carrying a guitar case hours before her death. Photographs and videos show the wreckage of the plane laying beneath a waterfall.
The rising star performed country music, in Brazil called sertanejo. She was known for tackling feminist issues in her songs, such as denouncing men who control their partners, and calling for female empowerment.
Minas Gerais state’s civil police also confirmed Mendonça’s death, without providing details about the cause of the accident, which occurred shortly before arrival. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the crash.
Politicians, sports stars and fans all made tributes to the singer. “I refuse to believe, I just refuse,” Brazil forward Neymar tweeted about the passing of his friend.
The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, also used social media to mourn the passing “of one of the greatest artists of her generation”.
“The entire country receives the news in shock,” he said.
Mendonça was the most listened to artist in Brazil on Spotify last year, and set a record during the pandemic as she moved her concerts online. One performance was the most-watched live stream in the world, peaking at 3.3 million viewers on YouTube.
Dubbed Brazil’s “queen of suffering”, she first found fame in 2016 with a much-lauded live album. Her LP Todos os Cantos won her the 2019 Latin Grammy for best sertanejo album. She was nominated for the same award this year for “Patroas”.
“You always make me cry, you’re unique and eternal,” said fan Michelle Wisla on Twitter.
The singer’s staff initially announced she was alive and well after news of the accident emerged.
Mendonça leaves behind a son, who will turn 2 years old next month.