Aaliyah Killed in Bahamas Plane Crash

ByABC News
August 26, 2001, 4:27 PM

Aug. 26 -- 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 lovingdaughter and sister," said a statement from the singer'spublicist, PMK. "Their hearts go out to those families who alsolost their loved ones in this tragic accident."