Aaliyah's family pays tribute to the late singer on what would have been her 43rd birthday... over 20 years after she died in a plane crash: 'You remain forever in our hearts and minds'

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Her family marked what would have been her 43rd birthday on Sunday, January 16 with a moving tribute to the icon.

Aaliyah, known as the Princess of R&B, died in 2001 at age 22 in a plane crash in the Bahamas.

Her family shared a heartfelt message to her Instagram page, along with an image of a bouquet of flowers, set to an unreleased track of Aaliyah singing Ava Maria.

RIP: Her family marked what would have been her 43rd birthday on Sunday, January 16 with a moving tribute to her. Aaliyah, known as the Princess of R&B, died in 2001 at age 22 in a plane crash in the Bahamas; pictured on April 20, 2001 at the MTV Movie Awards

 Her family wrote: 'To you our flowers from above candles from the world we will see you again bask in the day God sent you we will see you and your comrades again not yet, not yet.'

'Mom, dad, Ra, all who truly loved you and love you still. Forever more.' 

Aaliyah's family also shared another message on her page: 'Happy birthday, baby girl! Today, we celebrate your life, legacy, and beautiful soul. You brought so much light and passion to everyone you met and everything you did. You remain forever in our hearts and minds.'

Her friend and frequent collaborator Missy Elliot tweeted on Aaliyah's birthday: 'Babygirl even though you are not here in physical form your spirit still lives on! Your impact is forever! You are still (timeless) Your work & style still influencing a new generation. Happy BornDay Aaliyah you are loved & missed by many. Love you.'

 From the heart: Aaliyah would have been 43 on January 16

Icon: Her family shared a heartfelt message to her Instagram page, along with an image of a bouquet of flowers, set to an unreleased track of Aaliyah singing Ava Maria

Forever remembered: Aaliyah's family also shared another message on her page: 'Happy birthday, baby girl! Today, we celebrate your life, legacy, and beautiful soul. You brought so much light and passion to everyone you met and everything you did. You remain forever in our hearts and minds;' seen performing on July 31, 2001

In her honor: Her friend and frequent collaborator Missy Elliot tweeted on Aaliyah's birthday

Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 in a plane crash at the Marsh Harbour Airport in Abaco Islands in the Bahamas.

The One in a Million singer was 22; she died alongside eight others on board: pilot Luis Morales, Anthony Dodd, security guard Scott Gallin, family friend Keith Wallace, hair stylist Eric Forman, makeup stylist Christopher Maldonado and Blackground Records employees Gina Smith and Douglas Kratz.

The private plane, a twin engine Cessna 402 aircraft, crashed shortly after take off and caught fire about 200 feet from the end of the runway.

They were in the Bahamas to film Aaliyah's music video for Rock the Boat and were headed back to the US - specifically to Opa-Locka Airport in Florida. 

An investigation into the crash determined that the plane was overloaded by 700 pounds and carrying one more passenger than it was certified for, with the pilot not approved to fly the plane.

The pilot's toxicology reports showed traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. 

Icon: Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 in a plane crash at the Marsh Harbour Airport in Abaco Islands in the Bahamas; pictured April 27, 2001 at the Essence Awards

Artist: The One in a Million singer was 22; she died alongside eight others on board: pilot Luis Morales, Anthony Dodd, security guard Scott Gallin, family friend Keith Wallace, hair stylist Eric Forman, makeup stylist Christopher Maldonado and Blackground Records employees Gina Smith and Douglas Kratz; pictured October 3, 1997 performing at The Forum

Aaliyah revolutionized R&B in the 1990s and is known as the Princess of R&B and the Queen of Urban Pop; the artist's second album One in a Million (1996) is noted as one of the most influential albums from the 1990s in the R&B genre.

She also starred in TV and film, including Queen of the Damned, which was released posthumously.

On the 20th anniversary of her passing, Aaliyah's One in a Million album became available on streaming platforms.

Art: Aaliyah revolutionized R&B in the 1990s and is known as the Princess of R&B and the Queen of Urban Pop; the artist's second album One in a Million (1996) is noted as one of the most influential albums from the 1990s in the R&B genre

Previously, only her first album, the R. Kelly–produced Age Ain't Nothing But A Number, and some early singles were available to stream. 

Aaliyah's albums including her self-titled Aaliyah, I Care 4 U, Ultimate Aaliyah and Romeo Must Die became available soon after on streaming platforms. 

In December, the late star appeared on a single with The Weeknd in a song from her highly anticipated posthumous album Unstoppable.

The Take My Breath hitmaker previously sampled Aaliyah’s hit Rock the Boat on What You Need from his 2012 compilation album Trilogy, according to Billboard.

 The singer's estate previously released a statement in August 2020 promising Aaliyah's music would be available on 'streaming platforms in the near future.'

Forever in our hearts: On the 20th anniversary of her passing, Aaliyah's One in a Million album became available on streaming platforms 

'We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah's music catalogue, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future. Thank you for your continued love and support,' the statement read.

In 2016, a lengthy investigation by Stephen Witt for Complex revealed that Aaliyah's digital absence is almost single-handedly due to the inaction of her uncle Barry Hankerson, who was also her manager and the founder of Blackground Records.

Following the singer's untimely death in a plane crash, Hankerson's 'grief turned to despondency,' and he was reportedly unable to even be in the same room when her music was playing.

Over time, Blackground failed to keep up with the digital revolution and stopped paying its artists, many of whom sued.

Posthumous collaboration: In December, the late star appeared on a single with The Weeknd in a song from her highly anticipated posthumous album Unstoppable; The Weeknd seen September 23, 2021

Following the label's announcement about the rereleases, the estate of Aaliyah, which is controlled by her mother Diane Haughton, spoke out against what it called an 'unscrupulous endeavor' on social media.

The statement detailed how it has 'battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish.'

It described the upcoming releases as an 'unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah's music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate.'

'Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah's life's work,' the statement continued.

'Ultimately, we desire closure and a modicum of peace so we can facilitate the growth of the Aaliyah Memorial Fund and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah's true essence, which is to inspire strength and positivity for people of all creeds, races and cultures around the world.'

Objections: In a statement, Aaliyah's estate, which is controlled by her mother, spoke out about the deal and accused the record label of not sharing details about the deal

In August 2021, the estate's attorney, Paul LiCalsi, issued a statement criticizing Blackground Records for a lack of transparency about the deal to release Aaliyah's music.

It noted that only Aaliyah's first album had been available to stream for years because it was 'held by major record companies under contract with Aaliyah's record label.'

'Other than that first album, virtually the entire remainder of her catalog, including many never released tracks, has been inexplicably withheld from the public by Blackground Records. Aaliyah's Estate has always been ready to share Aaliyah's musical legacy but has been met with contention and a gross lack of transparency,' he continued.

He accused the record label of failing 'to account to the Estate' as it's required to by her record contracts.

'In addition, the Estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place. The Estate has demanded that Blackground provide a full account of its past earnings, and full disclosure of the terms of its new deal to distribute Aaliyah's long embargoed music.'

One and only: The singer's estate previously released a statement in August 2020 promising Aaliyah's music would be available on 'streaming platforms in the near future,' which may have made fans anxious for more; Aaliyah pictured August 4, 2000 in NYC

 

 

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Aaliyah's family pays tribute to the late singer on her 43rd birthday

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