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Aaliyah's tragic death and 'marriage' to R Kelly when she was just 15

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 The late Aaliyah and R. Kelly.

Aaliyah was at the height of her fame when she was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas at the age of 22. The singer/actress, who would have celebrated her 42nd birthday this week, perished in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of nine people back in 2001. Her death came seven years after she married her music mentor R Kelly when she was 15 and he was 27.

After starting her showbiz career at the age of 10 on US TV talent show Star Search, Aaliyah signed a record deal at 12 and recorded her first album at 14. Kelly, now 52, was one of the most famous singers in the world in the 1990s and he took the young star under his wing.

They grew close and in 1994, Kelly married Aaliyah, who was just 15 years old at the time, with her parents later getting the marriage annulled as the young star was too young to marry without their consent.

 The late Aaliyah.

Last year, his lawyer Steven Greenberg appeared on Good Morning America to address the claims over the singer's marriage to Aaliyah. He insisted the young star lied to Kelly about her age and the Bump N' Grind hitmaker had "no idea" Aaliyah was only 15 years old when they got married.

ALSO READ: Aaliyah's horror death in plane crash as jet dropped out of sky a minute after take off

Greenberg said at the time: "My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age."

The I Believe I Can Fly star is currently behind bars in the US facing charges including sexual assault, abuse of a minor, making indecent images of minors, racketeering and obstruction of justice. Kelly denies all of the charges against him.

After the marriage was annulled, Aaliyah's career continued to flourish. She branched out into acting, appearing in Romeo Must Die and filming horror movie Queen of the Damned, and releasing her blockbuster 2001 album Aaliyah. The plane was late arriving on Abaco Island, and the group were said to have been anxious to get going so they could make it back to Miami for the evening.

 Aaliyah.

ALSO READ: R. Kelly denies bribing official to get fake ID for Aaliyah, 15, so as to marrying her

Just a short hop across the water, the flight was due to take just an hour. Tragedy struck less than a minute after take off when the jet fell from the sky and plummeted to the ground just 200 feet (60 m) from the runway. She was among six passengers who died at the scene, while three others died hours after the crash.

An investigation by America's National Transportation Safety Board concluded the plane had been overloaded at the time of take off. After her death, her album shot back to the top of charts months after its release and remains one of the most critically acclaimed R&B records of all time.

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