On March 16, 1991, seven members of Reba McEntire's band and her tour manager Jim Hammon were killed near San Diego, California, after their plane crashed into the side of a mountain. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the tragedy, and McEntire paid tribute to her late friends on Instagram, sharing black-and-white photos of Hammon, keyboardist and bandleader Kirk Cappello, fellow keyboardist Joey Cigainero, drummer Tony Saputo, guitarists Michael Thomas and Chris Austin, bassist Terry Jackson and backup singer Paula Kaye Evans.
"No matter how long ago a tragedy happened and no matter how much time goes by after losing people we love...the anniversaries of losing them still sting and memories come rushing in," she wrote. "Praying for peace today along with all the families of Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Jim Hammon, Terry Jackson, Tony Saputo and Michael Thomas."
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One day prior to the crash, McEntire had played a private show for IBM executives in San Diego, after which the band was scheduled to play back-to-back shows in Indiana. McEntire, her then-husband Narvel Blackstock and her stylist Sandy Spika decided to spend the night in California because McEntire was suffering from bronchitis, but the rest of the band was scheduled to leave on two jets. The first plane that left was the one that crashed.
The 29th anniversary of the crash in 2020 came two days after McEntire's mother, Jacqueline Smith, died from cancer at age 93, and the singer wrote in her tribute that year that "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," she continued. "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."
On Sunday, McEntire marked one year since her mother's death with a newly-released video for her song "You Never Gave Up on Me" that begins with a throwback clip of McEntire giving an acceptance speech and saying, "The first time me and Mama came to Nashville, she told me, she said, 'Reba, I couldn't do this, so I'm living my life and my dreams through you.' This is from me and Mama, and we thank you."
"One year ago yesterday, Mama went to heaven," McEntire captioned a clip on Instagram. "I know she’s still not giving up on me. Thank you Mama."