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Fans sing along as they watch the Jenni Rivera tribute on a big screen at Universal Citywalk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Soledad Hernandez comforts her granddaughter Edlin Mendez, 6, as they watch a memorial service for Jenni Rivera on a large screen at Universal CityWalk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Concepcion Garcia of Los Angeles waits in line to get a ticket to the Jenni Rivera memorial at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

The promise of free tickets creates a crush of fans seeking to attend the Jenni Rivera memorial at the Gibson Amphitheatre. After the arena was filled, thousands watched the service on a large monitor in Universal CityWalk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Carina Carrillo of Delano sobs as she and hundreds fans watch the memorial service for Jenni Rivera at Universal CityWalk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Berta Rivera carries a souvenir photo she had taken with her husband, George, and Jenni Rivera, center, as she waits to attend the memorial.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Monica Gonzales of Pacoima carries a white rose in honor Jenni Rivera as she watches the memorial service.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Laura Montoya watches a broadcast of Jenni Rivera's memorial service through reflective sunglasses at Universal CityWalk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Thousands gather at Universal Studios to remember Jenni Rivera.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Thousands gather at Universal CityWalk to watch Jenni Rivera's memorial service held at Gibson Amphitheatre.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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By Adolfo Flores

The children of the late Jenni Rivera remembered their mother as loving, hard-working and “perfectly imperfect” at her memorial Wednesday at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

Family members, all dressed in white, spoke before a crowd of more than 6,000. Rivera’s ruby red casket was at the front of the amphitheater, amid dozens of white roses. A single microphone stood nearby, unused.

“We’re not here to mourn her death, we’re here to celebrate her life,” said Rivera’s son Michael Rivera, 21. He described the event as the “graduation of a singer, entertainer, philanthropist and more than anything a mother, the best mother.”

Her daughter, Jenicka López Rivera, said she loved her mother for who she was, flaws and all, and thanked her for raising her.

“My mom was beautiful and she had a giving heart,” Jenicka said amid her tears. “And I’m sorry for not being an obedient daughter, a respectful daughter. I can say mom that you are my warrior, you are my rock.”

Rivera’s youngest son, 11-year-old Johnny Lopez Rivera, said that even though he only got a few years with his mother she did her best to show him what a role model looked like.

“I’ve never seen a mom work so hard to accomplish anything,” Johnny said, the crowd cheering him on. “It’s a real honor to say that Jenni Rivera the person everybody is talking about is my mom and that she still lives in me.”

Pedro Rivera Jr., a pastor and Rivera’s brother, said his sister overcame many obstacles in her life and rose above them all.

“Because she had the courage and power inside her,” he said in Spanish. “She said she would never give up and was victorious. … My sister, Jenni, died in a plane accident, but it was not an accident,” he said. “God has a purpose for all of us and God gave let us borrow her for 43 years and enjoy her.”

5 Comments

  1. December 19, 2012, 4:00 pm

    I stIll cant belIeve jenny Is dead. I dIdnt losten to her musIc Ir anythIng. but Im proof that It does affect everyone. her famIly Is so strong and Im very sorry for theIr lossI cant even ImagIne what they’re goIng through. just know that my prayers are wIth u and I am truely sorry. JENNY U WILL LIVE IN US AND THROUGH UR MUSIC AND ALL THE GOOD THINGS U DID FOREVER AND IN OUR MRMMORIES…. LOVE YOU…

    By: marItza
  2. December 19, 2012, 6:39 pm

    jenni,

    you will be miss by everyone. you were such a strong woman and mom. you have so many women that look up to you. every weekend i will enjoy my day watching your show about you and the rivera family. love your show bc you and your family are like every mexican american families. i love the way you were with everyone. i am still shocked in how it happened but everytime i see a a butterfly i will think of you. i will always keeplov loving your music. my prayers are with your faly and always know that we love you and miss you.

    By: mayra serrato
  3. December 19, 2012, 10:57 pm

    Se recordara por siempre

    By: Ticui9
  4. December 21, 2012, 10:56 am

    This was an incredibly beautiful memorial. Her children made me proud. I believe she was smiling and feeling so proud as a mom, daughter and sister. What a beautiful family. Rosie, Chiquis and Jackie look so much like Jenni. Forever live her strong spirit and the way she was able to navigate so naturally in both the American and Mexican cultures. While in Mexico she was a pure "Mexicana" and while in California she was a savvy Mexican American. She had to be tough growing up in California and yet she was humble and loving to people. She leaves behind her great "unbreakable" (like Chiquis called her) fortitude for other women to follow in her footsteps. Rosie you have her strength and her beautiful spirit. May God bless this family always for sharing her with us.

    By: nycearthwindandfire
  5. December 22, 2012, 10:08 pm

    jenni, i never met you, but i am so greatly affected by your trajic passing. I see myself in you. I have cried many tears and will never forget you-although i had only seen you maybe 3 or 4 times on t.v. While traversing your time here, you made it all count. I have an eerie feeling that i knew you-your life your true essence.
    Jenni, my heart is with your whole family. I will never forget you. Rest well, sister and I would love to meet you next time.
    with love and respect,
    nancy from oregon

    By: aguantado97201

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