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Brazilian singer Marilia Mendonca dies at 26 in plane crash

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, HOST:

A moment now to remember Brazilian singer Marilia Mendonca. She was 26 years old. She died Friday when the plane carrying her to a concert crashed a few hundred miles north of Rio. Her uncle, her producer and the plane's two pilots also died. Mendonca was a Brazilian country music sensation known as The Boss to her fans and also the Queen of Suffering for her skill in expressing the frustration of young women in a cowboy culture dominated by men.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEBI LIGUEI (AO VIVO)")

MARILIA MENDONCA: (Singing in Portuguese).

KURTZLEBEN: That's her song "Bebi Liguei" from a live album that won her a Latin Grammy. She was extremely popular with nearly 8 million followers on Twitter, 22 million on YouTube and 38 million on Instagram.

As Mendonca told NPR's Philip Reeves in 2018, her music connected with Brazilians because of its truthfulness.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MENDONCA: (Through interpreter) I say that Marilia Mendonca is various different women rolled into one. I talk about things that have happened in my life and things that have happened in the lives of other women around me.

KURTZLEBEN: State police have confirmed her death and are investigating the crash. Photos and videos from Friday show a battered plane just beneath a waterfall. The craft matches one in a video Mendonca posted earlier that day. Marilia Mendonca is survived by her year-old son.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEBI LIGUEI (AO VIVO)")

MENDONCA: (Singing in Portuguese). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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