Aaliyah Dana Haughton first gained fame as a musical artist, who at age 15 debuted her first album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number, on the R&B charts in 1994. The album also went platinum. In 2000, she made her acting debut in the film Romeo Must Die.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on Jan. 16, 1979, and raised in Detroit, Aaliyah began voice lessons soon after she learned to talk, Biography.com reports. After an unsuccessful turn on the television program Star Search at age 11, she achieved nothing but success, even performing with Gladys Knight in Las Vegas.
While a student at Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, she released her second album, One in a Million, on which rap star Missy Elliott wrote and performed, and sold two million copies. She also recorded the Oscar-nominated song "Journey to the Past," which she performed at the Oscar telecast in 1998, and "Are You Somebody?" for the Dr. Dolittle film, for which she earned her first Grammy Award nomination. She earned her second Grammy nod for the hit single "Try Again" on the Romeo Must Die soundtrack.
Aaliyah tragically died in a plane crash in the Bahamas on Aug. 26, 2001, the same year in which she released her third album, Aaliyah, and played the title role in Queen of the Damned.
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(Photo: Kharen Hill 2000 Warner Bros)