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Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 - August 25, 2001) was an American rhythm and blues singer who diversified into acting before her death in a plane crash in 2001.
Her most well-known movie role was as the female lead in Romeo Must Die, a martial-arts movie also starring Jet Li and notable for its mainstream success despite featuring Asian and African-American characters in the lead roles, and few white Americans.
Her album Age Ain't Nothing but a Number was released and went platinum in the United States when she was 15, thanks to the popular singles "At Your Best (You Are Love)," "Back And Forth," and the title track.
Her sophomore album, One In A Million, was produced by then-unknowns Timbaland and Missy Elliott and was released in late 1996. It featured the international smash hit, "If Your Girl Only Knew," whose single has gone double platinum in America. The title track was also a platinum-selling single in America. "Four Page Letter," "Hot Like Fire," and Diane Warren's love ballad, "The One I Gave My Heart To," were somewhat less sucessful singles.
In 1997, Aaliyah had a single off of the Anastacia soundtrack, "Journey To The Past".
In 1998, Aaliyah had a huge hit, with the unique-sounding "Are You That Somebody," from the movie Doctor Doolittle. Its video was the third most played on MTV that year, and the song's success began to make Aaliyah a household name.
In 2000 she starred in the movie Romeo Must Die with Jet Li. She contributed a couple songs to that soundtrack, including "Back In One Piece," a duet with DMX, who had a minor role in the movie; and the international smash, "Try Again," which was the first song ever to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, based solely on the strength of its radio airplay, without any single sales (there was no single) being factored in.
"We Need A Resolution," the first single from her third album, Aaliyah, was released in spring of 2001 and was a commercial failure. The album, though, was a critical success and the video for "We Need A Resolution" received heavy MTV2 play.
"We Need A Resolution" was Aaliyah's last video released before she passed away. She was also to appear in the sequels to The Matrix before her death (those roles were eventually filled by Nona Gaye). Her last (and in fact, only other) movie role was Queen Akasha in The Queen of the Damned (released 2002).
The plane crash that killed her occurred when she was returning from shooting a music video for "Rock the Boat," the album's second single, in the Bahamas in 2001. "Rock the Boat" went on to become an enormous hit, on radio and on video channels, and the tragic news of her death gave her album an enormous sales boost. Sadly, some of the album's biggest hits happened only after Aaliyah's death, including the remaining two singles, "More Than A Woman" (which had a video that had been filmed prior to Aaliyah's death), and "I Care 4 U," which was a huge radio hit even without a music video.
Most recently, a posthumous greatest hits album was released in Aaliyah's name. It also contains the new single, "Miss You," which features Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, DMX, and others paying tribute to Aaliyah in its video.