music and film worlds lost a great star and her family lost a great
person. Singer and actress Aaliyah Dana Haughton was killed in a
plane crash Saturday evening. She was 22. Watch a special BET
Network tribute to her on Monday at 6 p.m. EST. Read all the latest
updates on the accident and the music industry's response here on
and come back for a retrospective of her life and career.
your feeling about the tragic loss of Aaliyah
August 26, 2001 -At first, it seemed like one of those crazy rumors
that go around the music industry.
Right after 10 p.m. EST, on Saturday, music industry two-ways
started to blow up with the news that singer/actress Aaliyah had
been in an airline accident. Nobody believed it at first. But less
than an hour later, news reports confirmed that Aaliyah Dana
Haughton, 22, had been killed instantly in a plane crash while
returning from a video shoot in the Bahamas. The twin-engine Cessna
402 charter plane, had just taken off from Bahamas’ Marsh Harbour
airport, in route to Opa-Locka, Florida, when it crashed at about
6:50 p.m. EST. Aaliyah was killed on impact.
Also killed in the crash were Scott Gallin, 41; Keith Wallace,
49, of Los Angeles; Douglas Kratz, 28, a representative for Virgin
Records; Makeup artist Eric Foreman; 29, of Los Angeles; Gina Smith,
29, of New Jersey, a Blackground Records employee; and makeup artist
Christopher Maldonado, 32; of New York. The plane's pilot,
identified only as L. Marael, was also killed. Anthony Dodd, 34, of
Los Angeles, was reportedly the only survivor. At press time, he was
in critical condition after being transported to Jackson Memorial
Hospital in Miami.
While no one knows yet what caused the crash, there has been
speculation from authorities that the plane was overloaded with
luggage. There are also reports that there was some kind of engine
failure upon takeoff.
NEW YORK (AP) _ From the moment the 15-year-old Aaliyah burst
onto the scene in 1994 _ a pop singer whose sultry voice, striking
good looks and sexy attitude belied her young age _ it seemed as if
everything she touched became a success.
Her debut album sold more than 1 million copies, she was
nominated for a Grammy twice and even her foray into the movies
yielded a surprise hit.
``I was trained since I was a little girl to be able to do it
all,'' the 22-year-old artist said in a recent interview with The
Her career had barely begun to peak when she was killed in a
plane crash in the Bahamas on Saturday.
Eight others on board also perished when the twin-engine Cessna
they were traveling in went down shortly after it took off; Aaliyah
had been filming a video for the next single off her album.
A statement released Sunday by the singer's publicist, PMK, said:
``Aaliyah's family is devastated at the loss of their loving
daughter and sister. Their hearts go out to those families who also
lost their loved ones in this tragic accident.''
She is survived by her mother, father and brother. Calls placed
by The Associated Press to some of her music collaborators were not
Aaliyah (pronounced Ah-LEE-yah) Haughton was born in Brooklyn on
Jan. 16, 1979, and was raised in Detroit. A career in entertainment
appeared to be predestined: Her mother, Diane, was a singer, and her
uncle, Barry Hankerson, was an entertainment manager who was once
married to Gladys Knight. By age 6, she was already on stage,
appearing in a production of the musical ``Annie.''
``I was an orphan, I had one little line,'' she recalled. ``But
what I loved about it was just putting the production together,
being in the chorus, learning the routines, singing, and doing a
little bit of acting.''
``That's when I said, I've got to do this forever,'' she added.
By the time she was 11, she was polished enough to earn an
invitation from Knight herself to perform with her in Las Vegas.
But the singer who would have the greatest impact on her career
was superstar R. Kelly, best known for hits such as ``I Believe I
Can Fly,'' and for writing and producing for performers such as
Kelly produced Aaliyah's debut album, ``Age Ain't Nothing But A
Number,'' which spawned hit singles like ``Back & Forth'' and
``At Your Best (You Are Love).''
Her midriff-baring clothes and her suggestive lyrics (the album's
title track spoke of going ``all the way'' with an older man) raised
She didn't understand the fuss.
``I didn't feel I was too mature,'' the singer said. ``I felt for
my age, I was just right,'' she said. ``Yeah, it was a bit sexy, but
that was just me, and I'm not going to deny being a little bit sexy,
I think it's a wonderful thing.''
Her artistic pairing with Kelly allegedly turned romantic when
the singer was just a teen; documents showed that the pair got
married, but it was apparently without her parent's consent and was
later annulled. The pair severed their artistic ties and refused to
comment about their relationship.
Aaliyah's next disc, ``One in a Million,'' did even better as she
began a partnership with producer/rappers Missy ``Misdemeanor''
Elliott and Timbaland. Among the hits off of that album included the
title track and ``If Your Girl Only Knew.''
Her latest record, the self-titled ``Aaliyah,'' debuted at No. 2
on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart when it was released last month.
The album had darker themes than her previous work; one of the
songs on the disc included a tune about domestic violence.
``I got a chance to really grow into myself as a young adult, and
I think you hear that on the album,'' Aaliyah said. ``From the
subject matter to the songs and the feel of it, even vocally, the
whole nine yards, the album is very much Aaliyah, a young adult.''
In 1999, she was nominated for a Grammy award for best female
R&B performance for ``Are You That Somebody''; she was nominated
once again this year for ``Try Again,'' the song from ``Romeo Must
Die,'' her first shot at the movies.
The action film also starred Jet Li and was a surprise hit at the
box-office, making her a much sought-after actress in Hollywood. She
won a starring role in the film adaptation of Anne Rice's ``Queen of
the Damned,'' and also landed coveted roles in sequels to ``The
Aaliyah lived on her own in Manhattan, picked her own movie roles
and charted the direction of her music. But she was still very much
a young adult, giggling during the AP interview as she talked about
getting tattoos on her ankle and back, and the dating scene.
Aaliyah apparently already shot some scenes for the ``Matrix''
sequels in the spring, but was due to film the bulk of her role next
year; it is unclear what affect her death will have on the movies.
Her latest album has already been certified gold.
Although her life seemed charmed, Aaliyah alluded to growing
pains and struggles.
``The hardest part about being in this business is ... the fact
that your life isn't your own anymore,'' she said.
Still, she called herself a ``happy girl,'' and said she was
living out her dream.
``The most enjoyable part is to touch people all over the
world,'' she said. ``To be able to go all those places, and have
people know your name, and know all of your songs, and for them to
be so touched by you, that some may cry _ there's not words that can
express how great that feels, and it makes all the hard stuff, it
makes it worth it.''