August 26, 2001 09:53 AM

New York-born, Detroit-raised R&B singer/actress Aaliyah, 22, died at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, along with seven others, when a small, twin-engine Cessna bound for Miami crashed and exploded after takeoff in the Bahamas, authorities said. The star had gone to the destination to shoot a music video, say reports. Superintendent Basil Rahming of Grand Bahama police department said that six people, including Aaliyah, were killed on impact, while two others died soon after. One critically injured survivor, Anthony Dodd, 34, of Los Angeles was flown to Florida for treatment. The New York Post identified Dodd as the singer’s bodyguard. Authorities said that other passengers killed included Scott Gallin, 41; Keith Wallace, 49, of L.A.; Douglas Kratz, 28, a representative for Virgin Records, and makeup artist Eric Foreman, 29, both of Hollywood, Calif.; Gina Smith, 29, of New Jersey; and Christopher Maldonado, 32, of New York. The plane’s pilot, L. Marael, also perished. Born Aaliyah Haughton (her first name, in Arabic, means “highest, most exalted one”), the singer — who often covered her right eye with her hair — started performing professionally at age 11 as part of Gladys Knight’s Las Vegas act. In 1989, she auditioned (but didn’t get) a role on TV’s “Family Matters.” Her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” was released when she was 15, and by the age of 18 she had two hit records to her credit. By 1999, Teen PEOPLE named her one of its 21 Hottest Stars Under 21. This year, her single “Try Again” received a Grammy nomination for best female R&B vocalist. Having made her movie acting debut in 2000’s “Romeo Must Die,” she was also due to appear in the two sequels to “The Matrix,” scheduled for release in 2003.

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