Famous for her music, she is also known for her tumultuous personal life. The singer was a single mom at the age of 15 and is the mother of five, her website said.
In 2009, she made headlines when she was detained at the Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash.
A year later, she made headlines again with the marriage to former baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who played for the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In October, she announced she was filing for divorce after less than two years of marriage. It was her third marriage.
She told CNN in 2010 that she wouldn't let scandals or personal tragedy stop her.
"Staying defeated, crying and suffering was not an option," she said. "I had to get off my feet, dust myself off and press on. That's what I want to teach my daughters."
"I Love Jenni," which began airing on mun2 last year, featured her life on the road, balancing the duties of motherhood and stardom as she toured Mexico and the United States.
Rivera's openness about the problems she faced won her a devoted fan base, said Raul Molinar, a Dallas-based radio DJ who interviewed the star several times.
"She was a real woman," he said, "and she would express her feelings -- onstage, off stage, anywhere,"
Rivera also was a judge on the popular TV show, "The Voice, Mexico," which was scheduled to air Sunday night. In its place, Televisa aired a special report about the singer.
A fellow judge on the show took to Twitter after news of Rivera's disappearance.
"My heart is devastated," wrote Beto Cuevas. "All my prayers are with you, Jenni, and your family."
Fans and celebrities took to social media to mourn the singer and television star.
"Spent some time with Jenni Rivera recently. What an amazing lady ... Cool, smart, funny & talented. Such a travesty ... God Bless her family," actor Mario Lopez tweeted.
Rivera performed at a concert in Monterrey on Saturday night before boarding the Learjet, which took off early Sunday and lost contact with air traffic controllers about 60 miles into the trip.
Just hours before she died, Rivera opened up to reporters about her divorce and the inner strength she found, thanks to her family.
"I'm so happy. So many strong things have happened in my life. I can't get up in the negative, which destroys you," she said.
"I have brothers. I have children. I have nephews. And they keep me from focusing on the negative."