Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001).
Her name means "Highest, Most Exalted, The Best" in Arabic.
At age 5, Aaliyah and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan.[
In 1989, she appeared on the TV talent show Star Search at age 10.
Aaliyah worked with an agent in New York and auditioned for TV shows, including Family Matters.
R. Kelly became Aaliyah's mentor and was a leading songwriter and producer on her debut album.
Tommy Hilfiger gave Aaliyah her first endorsement deal. He signed Aaliyah onto print campaigns, runway shows, and a commercial.
On August 25, 2001, at 6:50 pm (EST), just after finishing filming of the music video to "Rock the Boat", 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. The crew had a flight scheduled the next day, but since the video wrapped early, Aaliyah and her entourage were eager to return to the US. Aaliyah's entourage was in a rush to get back to New York so they demanded that their heavy equipment from the shoot be on the plane rather than leave it behind which resulted in the aircraft being well beyond the standard weight and balance tolerance provided by Cessna.
The plane crashed shortly after takeoff about 200 feet (60 m) from the runway.
In 2000, Aaliyah landed her first major movie role in Romeo Must Die.
Looking ahead, Aaliyah had a supporting role in the two sequels to The Matrix as Zee, the wife of Harold Perrineau Jr.'s character, Link. The directors initially tried to find a way to incorporate her footage into the movies but decided against it due to lack of material available. The role was recast with Nona Gaye playing the role. In 2004, The Matrix was released to DVD, tributes and footage of Aaliyah were found inside the special features.
Other films in which Aaliyah was signed to appear were Honey (Jessica Alba was eventually cast as the main character), a role in the movie State Property 2 (which was recast with Mariah Carey), and a Whitney Houston-produced remake of the 1976 film Sparkle which was canceled in 2007.