Brazilian pop singer Marilia Mendonca dies in plane crash

Brazilian pop singer Marilia Mendonca, known as “The Queen of Suffering” for her mournful ballads, was killed Friday in a small plane crash, authorities said. She was 26.

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Mendonca died when her plane crashed in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais, The New York Times reported. Also killed was her producer, Henrique Ribeiro; her uncle who was also her assistant, Abicieli Silveira Dias Filho; and the pilot and co-pilot of the plane, the newspaper reported.

Mendonca was en route to a concert at the time of the crash, CNN reported. She is survived by a 1-year-old son, according to CNN Brasil.

Mendonca had posted a video on social media as she boarded her plane on Friday, Reuters reported.

The circumstances surrounding the crash have not been determined, the Times reported. Authorities said an investigation was ongoing.

In a statement on Friday, the Minas Gerais Electric Company said Mendonca’s plane had hit a cable on an electric tower belonging to the power firm, according to CNN.

During a news conference Friday, Minas Gerais police chief Ivan Lopes Sales said that it was still too early to determine the cause of the crash but added that the dispersed debris field suggested the aircraft had “hit something before the plane fell.”

Mendonca was noted for sertanejo, a popular kind of country music in Brazil, according to the newspaper. She was known for singing about feminist issues, including denouncing men who control their partners, NPR reported. Her song themes also included female empowerment.

Mendonca began her career as a teenager, and became a national star in 2016 with a hit about infidelity, according to the BBC.

She won a Latin Grammy Award in 2019 for best sertanejo album for “Em Todos Os Cantos.” In 2020 she was the most listened to artist in Brazil on Spotify, the BBC reported.

Mendonca, known as “the Boss,” had an extensive following on social media, with 7.8 million followers on Twitter, 22 million on YouTube and more than 38 million on Instagram, the Times reported.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, wrote on Twitter, “The whole country receives in shock the news of the death of the young country singer Marília Mendonca, one of the greatest artists of her generation, whom, with her unique voice, charisma and music won the affection and admiration of all of us.”

Anitta, a funk singer who is popular in Brazil, tweeted, “I just found out. I can’t believe it.”