According to authorities, the small Cessna plane, which was headed to Miami, experienced engine failure and went down just 200 feet from the runway, bursting into flames upon impact. Aaliyah was one of seven passengers declared dead at the scene, while two others died later from their injuries.
"Aaliyah's family is devastated at the loss of their loving daughter and sister," read a statement issued by the star's PR representatives. "Their hearts go out to those families who also lost their loved ones in this tragic accident."
The Brooklyn, New York-born Aaliyah began her recording career in 1994 with Age Ain't Nothing But a Number, a platinum debut by the then-fifteen-year-old singer, produced by her then-husband, R. Kelly. Two years later she released One in a Million, which featured production by Jermaine Dupri and Timbaland, and has reached double platinum status over the past five years.
Aaliyah appeared in her first feature film, Romeo Must Die, last year, starring alongside Jet Li. Her performance established her as a significant talent in a second entertainment field and helped her land a role in the sequel to The Matrix, which had yet to start production at the time of her death.
On July 17th, Aaliyah released her third album, Aaliyah. The album debuted on the charts at Number Two, selling 186,000 copies in its first week and it remains in the Top Thirty, with sales just short of a half million.
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(August 27, 2001)