Marília Mendonça, a prolific record producer and singer, known by her maiden name Paulina da Paz, has died in a plane crash on Monday. Mendonça, who was 29, along with 19 others — two pilots, one official and the plane’s five occupants, including two members of her family — were on a flight to Brazil’s capital from Rio de Janeiro. The plane, a Cessna flying F-16, took off from the Bahia state capital of Santa Maria, according to local reports. Minutes before taking off, the Federal Civil Aviation Authority of Bahia said that a technical difficulty had delayed takeoff. The accident occurred not long after takeoff.
In a statement, Brazil’s civil aviation authority identified those killed. In addition to Mendonça, one of her family members and one of her band members died. The other passengers killed were: Inês Rocha Oliveira (21); Alexandre Spilky (32), a famous Brazilian singer and songwriter; and Paulo Soares, the honorary consul of Rio de Janeiro, who was en route to a rock concert in Rio. While Mendonça’s plane took off from Santa Maria, many aboard the doomed jet had made their way through the epicenters of Borneo and Sumatra.
The road to Paulina
Not long after her parents, brother and a couple of her friends boarded the plane, Mendonça began her career, according to CNN. Mendonça began working with Chilean musicians on the Internet, and was named by Billboard as the “Next Big Thing” in 2003. It was then that Mendonça’s career would be catapulted. The following year, Mendonça signed with Warner Music and signed a deal with Sony that would eventually net her over 40 No. 1 Billboard Latin singles, according to CNN.
That combination of talent and industry connections would see Mendonça’s first top five solo album debut, “Deluxe Edition,” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart in 2007. It is that first album that would give rise to her trademark blend of pop, samba and Afro-Brazilian rhythms. It is also the album that would lead to her biggest breakthrough, Billboard reports.
After that opening, Mendonça — and her highly influential music — would continue to surge in the charts, almost single-handedly promoting a burgeoning Brazilian music scene. Her biggest hit, “Por Corazón,” continued to top Billboard’s Latin Pop songs chart in 2013 and 2014, and would remain at No. 1 for a total of two consecutive weeks in January and February of 2016.