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Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 - August 25, 2001), best known as Aaliyah, was an American singer, dancer, model and actress. Introduced to audiences by R&B singer R. Kelly, Aaliyah became famous during the mid-1990s with several hit records from the songwriting/production team of Missy Elliott & Timbaland and their associate Steve "Static" Garrett. Aaliyah soon joined Timbaland's R&B and hip hop collective, the Superfriends Clique.
She is notable for recording several hit records, including several number one R&B hits, a number one pop hit, and nine top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. She also modeled for Tommy Hilfiger and starred in two motion pictures before being killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
Aaliyah was born in Bedford Brooklyn, New York, on January 16, 1979 to Michael and Diane Haughton, and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. Her name means "Highest, Most Exalted, The Best" in Arabic. Aaliyah was brought up as a Christian with her older brother Rashad Haughton. Her grandmother, Mintis L. Hicks Hankerson, was of African American and Native American descent. Diane Haughton, Aaliyah's mother, also a vocalist, encouraged her daughter's career. Her uncle, Barry Hankerson, is a prominent individual in the music industry and Aaliyah's aunt is Gladys Knight, a legendary soul singer with Gladys Knight & the Pips.
She appeared on the TV talent show Star Search at age ten, singing her mother's favorite song, "My Funny Valentine". Although she did not win, Aaliyah worked with an agent in New York and began to attend auditions for TV shows, including Family Matters.
Following her appearance on Star Search Aaliyah performed on stage in Las Vegas with Gladys Knight. In her early teens, Aaliyah attended the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, and graduated as a dance major with a 4.0 GPA
On August 25, 2001, at 6:49 pm (EST), just after wrapping up filming of the "Rock the Boat" video, Aaliyah and various members of her record company boarded a twin engine Cessna 402B (N8097W) at Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas to travel to Opa-locka Airport near Miami, Florida, but the plane crashed shortly after takeoff about 200 feet from the runway. Pilot Luis Morales III and all eight passengers, including Aaliyah, were killed in the aviation accident. According to findings from an inquest conducted by the coroner's office in the Bahamas, Aaliyah suffered from "severe burns and a blow to the head," in addition to severe shock. The coroner theorized that, even if Aaliyah had survived the crash, her recovery would have been virtually impossible given the severity of her injuries.
Aaliyah's eulogy was held on August 31 at Saint Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan, NYC.
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