Vigil for Aaliyah

ByABC News

Aug. 28, 2001 -- Fans are gathering across the country to honor the late R&B singer Aaliyah as investigators continue searching for clues as to what caused her charter plane to go down in the Bahamas Saturday.

The largest vigil took place in her hometown of Detroit last night, with hundreds of teary-eyed fans leaving flowers and messages at the High School of Fine and Performing Arts where the 22-year-old studied and was an honor student.

"I just felt like I needed to be a part of this," Demetrice Greene-Luckey, 27, told The Associated Press. "To remember together and to sing together."

"She was such an inspiration to the young people to show us we can do everything we set our minds to," said Greene-Luckey.

Fans also came together in Los Angeles' Leimert Park, joining members of the entertainment community who are paying tribute to the fallen star. Janet Jackson took a moment during her Sunday night concert to mention Aaliyah, dedicating the song "Come Back To Me" to the young performer.

Aaliyah's family is planning a private funeral and will not release the details of the ceremony. Her body and the eight others killed in the crash are expected to be flown to Florida today.

Investigators Consider Weight of Plane

U.S. and Bahamian investigators are now expected to focus on the issue of the weight of the Cessna 402. The plane went down shortly after takeoff in the Bahamas on Saturday killing all on board. Aaliyah and her crew were leaving the small island after shooting a music video and were travelling with their equipment.

The New York Post reported that the pilot of the charter plane and the singer's video crew got into a heated argument before takeoff over the weight of the equipment and passengers.

The pilot argued the Miami-bound plane was dangerously overloaded, but eventually gave in and took off, fellow pilot Lewis Key told the tabloid. But Key added that the pilot also had trouble getting one of his engines started — another suggestion that engine failure may have led to the tragedy. Police: Engine 'Apparently Failed'

As the investigation began, Police Superintendent Basil Rahming told The Associated Press that one of the Cessna's engines "apparently failed."

The Cessna 402 is designed to handle a single-engine takeoff, according to ABCNEWS aviation expert John Nance. He said the situation requires the pilot to make an "instantaneous" response, with few options.

Nance says wealthy, high-profile passengers might sometimes bully pilots, yet that "rarely" results in an accident.

"So many musicians have died in small aircraft," said Nance. "You would think that anybody in show business would be three times more sensitive."

Quincy Jones 'Devastated'

Aaliyah, whose name means "highest, most exalted one," in Swahili, earned Grammy nominations for her songs "Try Again" and "Are You That Somebody." She made her acting debut last year with a starring role in the Jet Li film Romeo Must Die, and was slated to appear in the upcoming sequels to The Matrix which are in production. The film's production office, and the Warner Brothers studio are not yet commenting on what will happen to her role in the action franchise.

She had recently finished shooting Queen of the Damned, based on the Anne Rice vampire novel, in which she played Queen Akasha.

"I think Aaliyah was the next Jennifer Lopez, the next Whitney Houston, the next Madonna, the next Janet Jackson," said Emil Wilbekin, editor in chief of Vibe magazine.

"She was a great dancer, she was a great singer and she had a great attitude and people liked working with her and people genuinely liked her."

"[Aaliyah] was like one of my daughters, she was one of the sweetest girls in theworld," Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer Quincy Jones told The AP. "She vacationed with me and my family together in Fiji. I loved her and respected her and I am absolutely devastated."

Brooklyn Native Began Performing With Gladys Knight

Born Aaliyah Dana Haughton, the Brooklyn native moved to Detroit at 5, began singing at a local church, and soon found herself onstage in Las Vegas with Gladys Knight. Knight's ex-husband, Barry Hankerson, was Aaliyah's uncle.

She is survived by her mother, father and brother.

In a recent interview, the young singer reflected on her career. "What do I want people to say when I'm long gone? I want people to look at me as a full-on entertainer and a good person." ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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