An artist in California has caused controversy after creating and selling pinatas modelled after tragic singer Jenni Rivera.

The Mexican-American superstar died in a horrific plane crash on 9 December (12), and in a bizarre bid to honour Rivera's legacy, Roberto Martinez has designed a range of the candy-filled party favours, which resemble the late 43 year old.

The products, which feature Rivera's trademark look of miniskirts and high heels, have angered the star's friends and family, with her sister Rosie taking to to express her outrage, writing, "This is disrespectful to the children, parents, siblings and people who she loved that were left behind."

However, Martinez insists he only had good intentions and was hoping fans would put the pinatas on display, rather than batter them for the traditional party game.

He tells Spanish-language Tv news show El Gordo y La Flaca, "I see it as a way of respecting and honouring her memory because she just died, and I'm aware that we use pinatas to beat them with sticks and break them, but I see it differently. It's an art. It can be seen as a statue that you can have in your bedroom or a memory of her."