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Aaliyah's Funeral
Friday August 31, 2001

A trail of tears for Aaliyah. A horse-drawn carriage carried the fallen star's casket through the streets of New York. A somber procession reminiscent of the funeral for Princess Diana who was also killed in a tragic accident exactly four years ago today. And just as the British royally mourned the loss of Diana, the royalty of African American entertainment gathered on this day to remember the R&B princess Aaliyah.


Aaliyah's funeral took place at the Saint Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church, where such luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis have been memorialized. Among the mourners joining Aaliyah's grief-stricken parents, her aunt Gladys Knight, Aaliyah's boyfriend Damon Dash, and fellow hip-hop honcho Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. Also in attendance were R&B singers Usher, Mya, and Monicam as well as hip-hop artists Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Kim, and Missy. Even former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was there.

As Aaliyah’s casket was moved from the famed Frank R. Campbell funeral chapel, her heartbroken mother Diane Haughton gently acknowledged the crowd of mourners.

Following the funeral, Aaliyah's fans cheered as her casket was carried down the church steps. Then, 22 white doves, one for each year of Aaliyah’s short life, were released into the air. One young mourner was so overcome with sadness, she fainted and had to be taken to the hospital.

The outpouring of emotion continued at a public memorial service for Aaliyah. The upscale restaurant Cipriani was transformed into a makeshift chapel filled with flowers and fond memories.

To many, Aaliyah was more than an entertainer. She was a role model who lived with grace and goodness. Aaliyah left this world like a princess.
 

CNN.com: Aaliyah funeral attracts fans, stars

MTV.com: The Aaliyah reports

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