SAO PAULO — Marília Mendonça, the singer and songwriter best known for her collaboration with Brazilian crooner Caetano Veloso, died Thursday of a head injury sustained when her small plane crashed in torrential rain in northern Brazil, Mendonça’s family said in a statement Friday. She was 26.
“The family is unable to say more right now, and no funeral has been scheduled,” the statement said.
Mendonça was traveling with her cousin to the northeastern city of Belo Horizonte for a concert at the city’s state theater, where Veloso was scheduled to appear on Friday.
Video posted online showed Mendonça falling to the ground after the plane came down and she could be heard yelling in pain.
Video posted online showed Mendonça falling to the ground after the plane came down and she could be heard yelling in pain. (Carlos Giusti/Associated Press)
“There was an explosion, and then she fell down,” said Graca Mecanicari, one of the singer’s relatives, told The Associated Press.
Mecanicari said she saw Mendonça in a hospital Tuesday but could not kiss her face due to the severe injuries she suffered. The statement did not give further details about her injuries.
Investigators from Brazil’s aviation agency were trying to determine how the ill-fated plane managed to come down in the rain. The Cessna 206 went down in the municipality of Terceira, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of the capital of Brasilia.
A witness, Luis Carlos Pedrey, told the Globo TV network that the pilot told him over the radio that the aircraft was experiencing difficulties after it tried to land.
A second witness, Carlos Souza, told Band News TV that he was working on his tractor about 500 meters (yards) from the scene of the crash when he heard an explosion and saw smoke billowing from the plane. He said it appeared the plane broke into pieces before hitting the ground and bursting into flames.
“People ran down to see what was happening, and then there was another explosion and all the glass exploded,” Souza said.
The Italian manufacturer of the plane, Pilatus, said in a statement that the aircraft made an emergency landing at a regional airport on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte “due to technical problems.”
“The aircraft carried out its landing with little incident, despite some brief moments of concern,” Pilatus said.
Veloso, Veloso, and Mendonça formed the group the Bezja, which eventually blossomed into the group the Vasco de Gama. The Vasco de Gama won the Latin Grammy Award for album of the year in 2015.
The group is known for its blend of upbeat songs with gloomy lyrics. Veloso and Mendonça also wrote the lyrics for Veloso’s 2013 album “Virus,” which was named best rock album at the 2015 Grammys. Veloso was also nominated for a best rock album Grammy that year for “Meteorite.”
Born in 1985 in Jardim Botanico, Mendonça studied music and mixed the classical violin with experimental sounds. She performed across the world and sang with bands including Mexico’s Unitel and Mekons. In 2012, she released her first solo album “Semen.”
The daughter of economist Pequeno Mendonça, the lyricist for one of the nation’s most beloved musical ensembles, the Les Naveles, Mendonça is also survived by her mother and brother.
This article was written by Jeff Horwitz, from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]