Struck with grief, tens of thousands of fans gathered on Saturday to pay tribute to Marília Mendonça, one of Brazil’s most popular singers, killed the day before in a plane crash at the age of 26.
The Latin Grammy winner and four other passengers, including her producer and uncle, perished on Friday when their plane crashed while flying from Mendonca’s hometown in Goiania, Goias state, to Caratinga , a small town in the state of Minas Gerais north of Rio de Janeiro.
Some mourners arrived as early as Friday evening to bid farewell to the country music singer, spending the night outside the large Goiania gymnasium where Mendonça’s vigil was being held. People lined up for hours on Saturday in the scorching heat, sometimes sheltering from the sun under large umbrellas, waiting to walk past his coffin.
“Her dead, that doesn’t make sense. Everyone likes it, ”said Tania Rodrigues, who was in the crowd with her 11-year-old daughter, Rosângela.
Ilsa da Costa Oliveira, wrapped in the green and yellow flag of Brazil and holding three red roses in one hand and a Mendonça CD in the other, spoke of the traits that made the singer so popular: “She is very charitable towards the public, for women, men, children, young people, the elderly… She is a good person, humble and charismatic.
Inside the gym, fans were able to spot the singer, known for her feminist engagement, writing about empowering women and speaking out against domestic violence. Some burst into tears as they walked past his open coffin.
The Latin Recording Academy issued a statement hailing “a promising young singer / songwriter,” calling her “the voice of a new generation of sertaneja,” the country music of Brazil.
“Marília Mendonça will be sadly missed, but her legacy will live on through her music,” the statement said.
Details on the cause of the crash remained unknown. Photographs and videos on Friday showed the plane lying just under a waterfall. Earlier today, Mendonca posted a video showing her walking towards the plane, guitar case in hand. She was going to a concert.