Aaliyah left us far too early when she died tragically on this day in 2001.
At just 22 years old, Aaliyah had already garnered quite the career and had a bright future ahead of her.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Detroit, she got her first break at the age of 11 when she performed in concerts alongside seven-time Grammy Award winner Gladys Knight.
Soon after, the “Star Search” contestant received the opportunity of a lifetime, signing her first record label deal at the age of 12 with her uncle Barry Hankerson’s company, Blackground Records.
It led her to meet R. Kelly, and the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer helped her find fame by producing and serving as the lead songwriter on her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.”
While the record rose to no. 18 on the Billboard 200 and sold over three million copies in the U.S. alone, the success had just begun for Aaliyah, who went on to become one of the youngest stars to ever perform at the Academy Awards in 1998.
When the teen sensation wasn’t singing, she put her creative efforts into acting on the big screen.
Her first feature film experience came in the 2000 action film “Romeo Must Die,” in which she and martial artist Jet Li played a couple who fall in love, despite the fact that their families are in the middle of a feud.
The hit soundtrack for “Romeo” led to a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocalist and two MTV Video Music Awards for the soundtrack’s Billboard-topping single “Try Again.”
She wasn’t done starring in feature films, also appearing in the 2002 horror flick “Queen of the Damned” as vampire queen Akasha.
Then on August 25, 2001, the month after her self-titled third album debuted at no. 2, she was killed in a plane crash after filming her “Rock the Boat” music video in the Bahamas.
After her death, she was remembered greatly by her fans, with “Aaliyah” topping the Billboard 200.
She was honored with two posthumous awards for “Aaliyah” at the 2002 American Music Awards, and her legacy lives on to this day.
A biopic about her life is in the works. While Lifetime momentarily had to put the project on hold after Zendaya left the project, they found a new star in the form of Alexandra Shipp.
Hopefully, the film will be be able to truly honor Aaliyah, an artist whose life was cut short 13 years ago.