LOS ANGELES (AP) – Actress and R&B singer Aaliyah died Saturday when a small plane crashed following takeoff in the Bahamas. She was 22.
Aaliyah's song "Try Again" earned her a Grammy nomination this year for her best female R&B vocalist. In 1996, she released her second album and the single "If Your Girl Only Knew" went double platinum.
Aaliyah made her feature acting debut in last year's "Romeo Must Die" and also was signed on to appear in two sequels to the high-tech thriller "The Matrix." She recently starred in the title role of the latest Anne Rice vampire thriller, "The Queen of the Damned."
"She was like one of my daughters; she was one of the sweetest girls in the world," said Quincy Jones, 68, the Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer. "She vacationed with me and my family together in Fiji. I loved her and respected her, and I am absolutely devastated."
Born Aaliyah Haughton in Brooklyn, N.Y., she made her stage debut as an orphan in a production of "Annie" at the age of 6. Her uncle was married to soul singer Gladys Knight, who invited Aaliyah to perform with her during a five-night stint in Las Vegas at age 11.
Aaliyah studied at Detroit High School for Fine and Performing Arts and struck a licensing deal as a teen-ager after her uncle, Barry Hankerson, formed Blackground Records.
She went gold with her debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing But Number," when she was just 14 in 1994 and benefitted from working closely with hip-hop producer R. Kelly.
Her latest album, "Aaliyah," featured regular Aaliyah contributors Timbaland and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott. She took on the issue of domestic violence in the slow tune "Never No More" and experimented with jazz rhythms in "I Care 4 U." The album was a top seller earlier this month, according to industry sources.
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