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By Wendy Barba
Dressed in white, friends, family members and fans gathered this morning at the Gibson Amphitheatre to pay their last respects to singer Jenni Rivera.
With the venue filled well past its capacity of 6,189, the "Celestial Graduation" was also displayed on large monitors for those who couldn't make it inside.
Jenni's body rested in a burgundy coffin next to an enormous arrangement of white flowers.
Her family said they didn't want to cry, but they couldn't hold back the tears as they spoke about Jenni's legacy.
Jenni's brother Pedro Rivera, Jr. led the ceremony. "My sister has passed on to be in His presence," he said. "God has a purpose for all of us. For 43 years we enjoyed her company. Jenni went through very difficult situations and she overcame every obstacle."
"Some people said 'Jenni couldn't overcome this accident,' but I disagree," said Pedro. "She didn't have to overcome this because she's in the hands of our Lord."
"Not too long ago, my sister gave me the greatest gift. She told me she loved me … Sorry for crying," said Jenni's younger brother, Lupillo Rivera. "I will always love you and no one will ever compare to you."
Lupillo planned on singing, but he said he was too emotional.
"You used to call me 'Madre Santa,'" said Jenni's mother. "You've left me with your children and your grandchildren and the ones that are yet to come. I love you and soon, or maybe later, I will see you in heaven."
Many people anticipated listening to Chiquis speak. Jenni's daughter described what this tragedy meant to her saying, "This was not an accident. This was a blessing," she said, "because God's plan is perfect."
Jenni's oldest daughter added that her mother was "unbreakable" and the best thing she taught her was that if she fell, she needed to get up. "It's my turn to make you proud," she added.
"I feel at peace knowing that you know how much I love you," she said. "Congratulations, you've graduated to the place we all want to be."
Chiqui's sister said their mother was "perfectly imperfect," adding "On Dec. 9, I stood up to become the woman you wanted me to become."
The baby of the family, Johnny, said, "I only had 11 short years with her. My mom is finally happy and she's with my dad."
La Diva de la Banda, as many called Jenni, was serenaded by her father, who sang a corrido dedicated especially to his daughter.
Joan Sebastian, Marco Antonio Solís, Ana Gabriel and Olga Tañon were among the famous singers who also paid tribute to the star. Ana Gabriel sang a touching version of the song "Paloma Negra." Joan Sebastían sang "Más allá del Sol."
At the end of the ceremony, Antonio Aguilar's song "Que me entierren con la banda" played.
Jenni's family asked that on Thursday at noon, time of the scheduled private burial, all radio stations play the song "La Gran Señora."
Jenni Rivera's life was cut short when her private jet crashed in a mountainous region in Monterrey, Mexico. During the span of her career, Jenni sold over 15 million albums.
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