updated 05/05/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/05/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT
She blazed and shimmered in the spotlight, but it was the fact that Selena was happily, proudly del pueblo—"of the people"—that forged a powerful, personal bond between her and her audience. In the saddest of ironies, it was apparently her trust in a fan—and a friend—that cut short a life poised on the brink of even greater success and celebrity. To much of America she was still unknown, a treasure awaiting discovery, but when she died, 50,000 people came together at a service to weep in her memory. "We all cried in my family, too," a young girl wrote to Selena's parents. "She lives in all of our hearts and in her music."