The music world is mourning the loss of 22-year-old singer and actress Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in the Bahamas Saturday night.
Investigators waded through the debris today trying to determine why the plane that was carrying the singer and eight others crashed Saturday night. Officials say it looks as if one of the plane's engines may have failed.
The Cessna 402 crashed shortly after takeoff, just a few hundred feet from the runway in perfect weather, according to officials. The crash happened with little warning. Investigators say Aaliyah died instantly in the crash.
There was only one survivor who was flown to Florida for treatment. The passenger was in critical condition.
Promising Career Ahead
Aaliyah was at what some would call, the threshold of a huge career.
"I think Aaliyah was the next Jennifer Lopez, the next Whitney Houston, um, the next Madonna, the next Janet Jackson," said Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine.
Not only was she embarking on a promising movie career, having already starred in Romeo Must Die, but her music was evolving from the punchy, pop-influenced hip-hHop and R&B sound of her first two albums to a more mature, introspective sound.
In fact, before Brandy, Britney, Christina et al there was this hugely talented, 15-year-old R&B chaunteuse from Detroit who mixed R&B and hip-hHop and caused quite a stir in the music world.
"She was one of those talents that you just wanted to see more of," said Rashod Ollison, a music critic for the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.
Aaliyah was born Aaliyah Haughton on Jan. 16, 1979, in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and her family moved to Detroit when she was 5 years old. After singing in her church as a youngster, she began performing at the age of 11 with Gladys Knight, whose ex-husband Barry Hankerson, was her uncle, in Las Vegas. She is survived by her mother, father and brother.
"Aaliyah's family is devastated at the loss of their loving daughter and sister," said a statement from the singer's publicist, PMK. "Their hearts go out to those families who also lost their loved ones in this tragic accident."
Her debut album Age Ain't Nothing But a Number, released when she was only 15, went gold. It was produced by R&B crooner R. Kelly and featured Hip Hop elite Timbaland and Missy Elliott.
Her second album, One in a Million, went double platinum.
Signed on for Matrix Sequels
"[Aaliyah] was like one of my daughters, she was one of the sweetest girls in the world," said Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer Quincy Jones told the Associated Press. "She vacationed with me and my family together in Fiji. I loved her and respected her and I am absolutely devastated."
She was celebrating her third album, the self-titled Aaliyah, released this summer. Her single "Try Again" earned her a Grammy nomination this year. She was also signed on to appear in two sequels to The Matrix.
She was in the Bahamas shooting a video, according to the Bahama's Minister of Tourism Tommy Turnquest.
The other passengers killed in the crash were Scott Gallin, 41; Keith Wallace, 49, of Los Angeles; Douglas Kratz, 28, a representative for Virgin Records and Eric Foreman, 29, both of Hollywood, Calif.; Gina Smith, 29, of New Jersey; and Christopher Maldonado, 32, of New York.
The plane's pilot, identified only as L. Marael, also died.
The lone survivor of the crash, listed in critical condition at a hospital in Miami, was identified by police as Anthony Dodd, 34, of Los Angeles.