Reba McEntire is a genuine country music diva. From the late 1970s when she first graced the stage, she became a beloved fan favorite, adored by millions.
Throughout her life, she has been married twice and has one son, Shelby.
However, despite her enormous success and the radiant smile that often graced her face, Reba has had her share of heartbreak.
In 2022, Reba suffered the loss of her mother, Jacqueline, to cancer. This was a devastating blow, as the two had an extremely close and loving mother-daughter relationship. Reba wrote on social media, “She had a wonderful, full, healthy life and was absolutely ready to go. The cancer might think it won the battle, but we’re giving God all the credit for selecting the time for her to go home to Him.”
Back in her younger days, Jacqueline aspired to be a singer herself. When her dream didn’t come to fruition, she taught her daughter how to sing. “She left knowing how much she is loved, and we all know how much she loved us. We’re all going to miss her, but we have so many wonderful memories,” Reba said.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time Reba had experienced loss and sorrow. Thirty-two years ago, on March 16, seven members of her band, along with her manager, lost their lives in a tragic airplane crash.
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On that fateful day in 1991, the band was en route from a concert in San Diego to their next performance in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Reba and her then-husband were supposed to fly separately but decided to stay in San Diego for the night. Tragically, the band’s plane crashed just ten miles after takeoff.
Despite more than three decades having passed since the crash, Reba never misses an opportunity to pay tribute to the late members of her band.
In 2012, Reba spoke about the tragedy during an interview with Oprah. She recalled, “The tip of the wing of the airplane hit a rock on the side of Otay Mountain, and it killed everyone on the plane.”
When they received the news, Reba’s manager, Narvel, met with their pilot and then came to Reba’s hotel room in the early hours of the morning. Reba remembered, “And Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was — it was two or three o’clock in the morning — and he said one of the planes had crashed, and I said, ‘Are they OK?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘But you’re not sure?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.'”
As she recounted that tragic day, tears welled up in Reba’s eyes. “Narvel was going room to room with a phone and calling …” she began, her voice breaking. “I’m sorry — it’s been 20 years, but it’s just like — I don’t guess it ever quits hurting,” she said. “But I can see that room. I can see Narvel walking back and forth.”
In 2020, Reba honored those who perished in the crash. She posted on social media, “29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash. The timing of Mama’s passing with that anniversary seems appropriate. I know they’re all in Heaven together and taking care of each other. Let’s keep finding ways to take care of each other down here on earth and never take one moment with our loved ones for granted.”
Her fans offered messages of support. One fan wrote, “Reba, I’ve always loved your music, our shared horse background, and now following you on Insta. Prayers for you and your mother 🙏🏻.”
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This year, Reba once again shared with the world that despite the years that have passed, she continues to be saddened by her friends’ fate and their tragic loss. Along with a video of one of their performances as a band, she wrote, “Their love for music and the stage gives us all the strength to go on.”
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