Twenty years ago, the news of Aaliyah’s untimely passing shook the music world. The singer had just finished filming the video for “Rock the Boat” and was on her way to Florida from the Bahamas when her plane crashed and went up in flames moments after takeoff. The loss was immediately met with tears and touching tributes, which continue today (Aug. 25) on the 20-year observance of her tragic death.
“Baby girl, All these years your IMPACT is still felt & your INFLUENCE is seen EVERYWHERE!” wrote Aaliyah’s friend and collaborator Missy Elliott. “So many are still CAPTIVATED by your SOUND & STYLE! It’s BEAUTIFUL to see a new generation become fans of your ART & love YOUR HEART! We Love you & May your spirit live on 4EVER.”
“20 years. Aaliyah, you are so incredibly missed,” added producer Amorphous. “I am forever grateful to have been introduced to your music before you left, thanks to my brother. I can’t fathom how different my life would be had he not. We miss you. Your light will continue to shine on and on.”
While social media was flooded with comments honoring Aaliyah and her contributions to music, her mother’s intentions to honor the late star with a day of remembrance have been pushed back after an individual visited her gravesite to promote an unauthorized book. The act, she explained, forced her to “make a drastic change at Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum,” which messed up her plans “to make August 25th, 2021 a “Day of Remembrance and Love” for Aaliyah.
“Please accept my sincere apologies for this and know I love you and always will,” the late singer’s mom continued. “Aaliyah’s life will still shine no matter what.”
The observance of Aaliyah’s death comes less than a week after her sophomore album One in a Million became available on streaming services. The project — the first of three to hit DSPs — topped the US iTunes charts shortly after its release and is on track to make its first-ever appearance in the top 10 songs of the US albums list.
Look below to some of the tributes honoring Aaliyah two decades after her untimely death.