Singing sensation Aaliyah, 22, died tragically with eight other passengers in a plane crash on August 25. Aaliyah Dana Haughton and her staff had just completed the video shoot for her upcoming single, “Rock the Boat,” when their Cessna aircraft Flight 402-B exploded on impact 200 feet from the runway of the Marsh Harbour International Airport on Abaco Island in the Bahamas at 6:45 p.m., police said.
The deceased passengers include Aaliyah’s product manager at Blackground Records, Gina Smith, of New Jersey, Blackground representative Keith Wallace, of Los Angeles, Virgin Records Director of Production Douglas Kratz, her bodyguard Scott Gallin, 41, hair stylists Eric Forman and Anthony Dodd, of Los Angeles, and makeup artist Christopher Maldonado, of New York. The plane’s pilot, identified as L. Maradel, was also confirmed as one of the deceased.
Speculation continues as to what caused the plane to detonate. According to Grand Bahaman Police Superintendent, Basil Rahming the aircraft had failed upon liftoff. One of the contributing factors to the blast may have been that the plane had been overloaded with baggage.
Gloria Knowles, an Abaco Air employee at Marsh Harbour Air said that the handlers and the pilot had complained about the heavy baggage but the passengers insisted on bringing it all on the aircraft.
The pop singer was born on January 16, 1979 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Detroit, Mich. Destined to be a star, she sang as a child and her parents fostered her talent with professional singing lessons. Singer Gladys Knight, who is Aaliyah’s aunt, helped introduce the young star to the music industry.
After appearing on Star Search at the age of nine, her career began to progress leading to 1994’s “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” released when Aaliyah was just 16. The debut album was produced by R&B singer/songwriter R. Kelly. Some popular singles include, “At Your Best” and “Back and Fourth.”
Her sophomore release “One in a Million” displayed a change in vocal approach and delivery due largely in part to her collaboration with Hip-Hop producer Timbaland. Her 1998 single, “Are You That Somebody” soared to the top of Hip-Hop and Pop charts.
Aaliyah received two Grammy nominations from her first two albums. Her most recent self-titled release entitled was released this past July and debuted in the Top 5, according to the Billboard Charts. Her newest video directed by Hype Williams had just been completed upon her boarding of flight 402 B as she was to fly back to Miami.
The singer had recently stepped foot into the acting arena, with a lead role next to martial artist Jet Li in “Romeo Must Die” and works in progress for the “Matrix” sequel.
The funeral services were truly that of a “most high and exalted one,” which is actually the translation of her name,”Aaliyah,” in Swahili. Mourning services included a procession of the entertainer’s glass-paneled casket through New York City via a horse-drawn carriage on August 31.
The funeral director was forced to add pages to the book of condolences due to the outpour of signatures and praise of a young charmed singer that touched so many.
Quinnipiac junior Nicole Lacey said, “It’s a shame when such a pure talent goes to waste.” Junior Lauren Larit, described the death as “tragic.”