Inside People

updated 05/05/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/1995 01:00AM

Two weeks ago, PEOPLE wrote about the death of Tejano superstar Selena in a regular weekly issue. In Texas and parts of the Southwest, the magazine carried her picture on the cover—and sold out on newsstands within hours. Clearly the murder of the young, beautiful, proudly Latina singer, whose Corpus Christi, Texas, memorial service drew nearly 50,000 mourners, affected not only her fans but people everywhere, particularly in Hispanic communities across the U.S. The passionate response to Selena's death prompted us to tell, at greater length, the story of her life.

This special issue would not have been possible without the cooperation of Selena's family—father Abraham Quintanilla Jr., mother Marcela, brother A.B. and sister Suzette—and her husband, Chris Perez, who provided photographs and opened their hearts to talk about the young woman they loved. "People often talk about 'grace under pressure,' " says Barbara Laing, who photographed the Quintanillas and Chris. "Well, this family is the embodiment of that."

The issue also relied on exceptional work from a number of staffers, notably Hillie Pitzer, who designed it; Anne Kilpatrick, who acquired and edited the pictures; and Betty Cortina, Joseph Harmes, Anne Maier and Bob Stewart, who reported almost every story during a hectic, four-day period. During her interviews, Cortina found a common thread when people talked about Selena: "They admired her talent, but it was never the first thing they mentioned. They would talk about her values, her humility, what a great example she was."

To honor her memory, Selena's family is working with her record label, EMI Latin, to set up a college scholarship fund in her name. Donations may be sent to the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, 1750 North Vine Street, Hollywood, Calif. 90028.

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