Jenni Rivera, Orlando Cruz, Chavela Vargas and Lupe Ontiveros were among the notable Latinos who made headlines in 2012.

Mexican singer-songwriter Dolores Janney Rivera, better known as Jenni Rivera, was laid to rest last week following a fatal plane crash that killed her and six others. The international superstar left behind an estimated fortune of $25 million to her five children.

Rivera used her voice to call attention to the bullying of LGBT youth, anti-immigration legislation and other issues.

Chavela Vargas, who moved from Costa Rica at the age of 14 to pursue a musical career in Mexico, died in August at the age of 93. She came out gay in a 2000 interview with Madrid daily El Pais at the age of 81.

“I've had to fight to be myself and to be respected. I'm proud to carry this stigma and call myself a lesbian. I don't boast about it or broadcast it, but I don't deny it. I've had to confront society and the Church, which says that homosexuals are damned. That's absurd. How can someone who's born like this be judged? I didn't attend lesbian classes. No one taught me to be this way. I was born this way, from the moment I opened my eyes in this world. I've never been to bed with a man. Never. Just imagine what purity. I have nothing to be ashamed of. My gods made me the way I am,” she said.

Puerto Rican Boxer Orlando Cruz, 31, won his first fight in October since announcing that he's gay. He said that he was touched by the support he received from the crowd at the Kissimmee Civic Center outside Orlando, Florida.

“I was very happy that they respect me,” he said. “That's what I want – them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word.”

Actress Guadalupe “Lupe” Ontiveros (Desperate Housewives), a strong gay rights ally, also passed away in 2012. She was 69. Ontiveros was born in El Paso, Texas of middle-class Mexican immigrants.