Photos: Jenni Rivera memorial draws thousands to Universal's Gibson Amphitheater

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Fans watch a public memorial for 43-year-old banda singer Jenni Rivera at Universal CityWalk on Wednesday. Rivera's family put on the two-hour ceremony, which they called a "celestial graduation."

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Bertha Rivera holds a photograph of her and her husband with singer Jenni Rivera, as ticket holders are led into the Gibson Amphitheater for the 10 a.m. memorial.

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Fans watch a live video stream of Rivera's public memorial. The more than 6,000-seat Gibson Amphitheater sold out in minutes.

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Jenni Rivera's daughter, Janney Marin, remembers her mother during a public memorial. Fans collected free pins honoring the singer. Rivera leaves three daughters and two sons.

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Hundreds filled Universal CityWalk to watch the live feed of Rivera's memorial. Rivera died in a plane crash in Northern Mexico on Dec. 9.

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Joanna Perez, right, of Lodi helps wipe away her cousin's, Ruby Solorio of Stockton, tears. Jenni Rivera, who sold 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums, spoke candidly about difficulties in her personal life.

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Juan Carlos Hernandez of Los Angeles holds a white rose and a radio playing the music of singer Jenni Rivera. The singer's family asked fans to each bring a single white rose.

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Fourteen-year-old Kimberly Guevara of North Hills becomes emotional while watching Rivera's memorial. The banda singer was born and raised in Long Beach.

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Singer Jenni Rivera's red coffin, decorated with butterflies, is displayed on-stage during her memorial.

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Elsa Sandoval of Los Angeles puts a Jenni Rivera pin on her jacket. Rivera's burial will be private.

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Co-workers Monica Gonzalez and Jaqueline Carillo of Pacoima chant "Jenni, Jenni!" The singer was scheduled to perform at the Gibson Amphitheater in March.

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Cousins Ruby Solorio of Stockton, center, and Joanna Perez, left, of Lodi traveled by train to Southern California on Tuesday to attend the public memorial.

Free tickets for the public memorial for Jenni Rivera — the much-loved "diva of banda music"  who perished in a plane crash this month — were gone fewer than 15 minutes after they became available, but thousands of fans still hustled to try to get in free or to stake out spots in front of the giant screen that broadcast the event live outside the amphitheater near Universal Studios on Wednesday.

Rivera’s brother, Pastor Pedro Rivera Jr., officiated at the two-hour service. The performer’s five children and her extended family, as well as more than 5,000 fans, joined the public memorial before a private funeral service.

The singer and six others were killed Dec. 9 when their small plane crashed in Northern Mexico during a concert tour.

Outside the theater, Rivera’s song “Cuando Muere una Dama” — “When a Lady Dies” — played, and her female fans sang along. The song described her own wishes — have a big party for me, release butterflies into the sky in my name, and please don’t forget me.

Alicia Castañeda, who like Rivera is 43 years old, said she attended because she identifies with Rivera the singer, entrepreneur and domestic violence survivor.

“She’s a strong woman. Some time ago I suffered like that, and it’s a nice thing to have a Latina woman, a Mexican-American woman, who showed us to not stay quiet, who said, 'You need to speak,'” Castañeda said.

Castañeda’s husband, Jaime, stood next to her with a white rose in hand, shedding a couple of tears.

On the screen in front of him, live video of the ceremony showed Rivera’s sons and brothers, dressed in identical white suits, processed onto the stage with the red casket that carried Rivera’s body. 

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