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Tens of thousands mourn Brazilian singer

Tens of thousands of fans have gathered to pay tribute to Marilia Mendonca, one of Brazil’s most popular singers who was killed in a plane crash at age 26.

The Latin Grammy winner and four other passengers, including her producer and uncle, died on Friday when their plane crashed while flying from Mendonca’s hometown of Goiania to Caratinga, a small city in Minas Gerais state north of Rio de Janeiro.

Some mourners arrived as early as Friday night to bid farewell to the country music singer, spending the night outside the large gymnasium in Goiania where Mendonca’s wake was held.

People stood in lines for hours on Saturday in the sizzling heat, at times taking shelter from the sun under large umbrellas, waiting to pass by her coffin.

“Her, dead, it doesn’t make sense. Everyone likes her,” said Tania Rodrigues, who was in the crowd with her 11-year-old daughter, Rosangela.

Inside the gymnasium, fans were able to catch a glimpse of the singer, who was known for her feminist engagement, writing about empowering women and denouncing domestic violence.

Some broke down in tears as they passed her open coffin.

The Latin Recording Academy issued a statement saluting “a promising young singer/songwriter”, calling her “the voice of a new generation of sertaneja”, Brazil’s country music.

“Marilia Mendonca will be sorely missed, but her legacy will live on through her music,” the statement said.

Details about the cause of the accident remained unknown. Photographs and videos on Friday showed the plane lying just beneath a waterfall.

Earlier in the day, Mendonca had posted a video showing her walking toward the plane, guitar case in hand. She was on her way to a concert.

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