Air crash: Marilia Mendonça dies at age 81

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mendonça, pictured here with music rival and former boyfriend Odé Sampaio, was the last survivor of the crash

Music legend Marília Mendonça has died in a plane crash in Sao Paulo.

The chart-topping star was a favourite of the late Brazilian president Joao Goulart and sold more than five million records worldwide.

She was the last survivor of the crash in 1966 which killed nine of her band members.

A Brazilian plane and four aircraft on a Brazilian music festival collided over the city last October, killing 69 people.

The Boeing 737 and four smaller aircraft were also transporting personnel to the event when the crash occurred.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The accident involved Brazil’s Ariana 1 airline and a helicopter

Also aboard the Ariana 1 flight was the Brazilian music star Dinara Alexandre. The collision involved the Ariana 1 airliner’s DC-3 rear section, which then hit the red light ambulance that was going to pick the musicians up.

The red light ambulance had to make an emergency landing on a nearby golf course and, on the ground, three soldiers and one official were killed.

Dinara Alexandre suffered a brain haemorrhage and she later went on to have her jaw wired shut and had to use a wheelchair for three years.

In March this year, the Alexandre was given a public art award for her work in raising awareness about health and sports in the country.

Marília Mendonça was just 19 when the plane carrying her band Dancairo da Música was crashed.

She was taken to a hospital and survived, but died in May 1967.

Marília Mendonça was an international star of popular music

The plane wreckage was found 15 months later in several metres of forested hill in far eastern Goias state.

Marília Mendonça died in a Sao Paulo hospital

“The living and dead living together, for a long time, many a time, at the same place,” Marília Mendonça said at the ceremony to unveil a plaque marking the crash site.

The first dance and love songs produced by Mendonça were staples of Brazilian Christmas TV broadcasts.

She was famous for her cosy romantic ballads, many in a rich Italian, French and African fusion.

Her biggest hit, the 1964 Valentine’s Day song “Mais Eddias”, (“I Will Tell”), is considered by many to be one of the Brazilian “tango” songs.

Marília Mendonça released more than 90 singles, dozens of Spanish and Italian versions and an album for the Latin America market.

A recording of “Mais Eddias” by the Brazilian band Trío Brasileiro

Image copyright AFP Image caption Marilia Mendonça’s hits included love songs such as “Mais Eddias”

Image copyright AFP Image caption Marilia Mendonça’s recordings included many French and African fusion songs

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