The Tragic Life and Death of Aaliyah the Princess of R&B

The multitalented performer known as Aaliyah became an instant success when she released her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing but A Number, at only fourteen. Known for her acting, singing, and dancing, the young talent was quickly dubbed Princess of R&B. Throughout her short career, Aaliyah shined brightly, inspiring millions.

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Not only did she excel in music, but Aaliyah dabbled in film and fashion, too, gaining fans because of her beauty, style, and larger-than-life persona. But alas, Aaliyah’s career was tragically cut short when she died in a plane crash at age twenty-two. This is her story.

Highest, Most Exalted One

Fans knew the singer by her first name, Aaliyah, or by her nicknames Princess of R&B and Queen of Urban Pop. However, the full name her parents gave her was Aaliyah Dana Haughton. The name Aaliyah is the feminine version of the name Ali.

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It means in Arabic “highest, most exalted one” or “the best,” and in Hebrew, it means “rising” or “ascending.” Aaliyah believed that her name described who she was meant to become. Her mother suggested that Aaliyah keep her first name as her stage name since it reflected the family’s hopes for her.

The Support of Her Family

Aaliyah was born on January 16th, 1979, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Michael and Diane Haughton, and she had one older brother named Rashad. When Aaliyah was five years old, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where her parents hoped to give their children a better life.

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Michael worked in a warehouse, and Diane was a vocalist and a stay home mom. Her whole family was very supportive of Aaliyah’s dream to become a performer someday. When she was young, they encouraged her to sing at weddings and church choir and act in school plays.

On Stage in Vegas

As she got older, Aaliyah’s family continued to help with her career. Moving to Detroit brought the Haughton’s closer to their extended family. This included Aaliyah’s uncle and aunt- Barry Hankerson and Gladys Knight, the seven-time Grammy-winning musician.

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At age nine, Aaliyah competed in Star Search but didn’t win because the judges thought she was too young. Nevertheless, convinced she was ready, Aaliyah continued to audition with record labels. Aaliyah joined her aunt Gladys Knight for five days on a Las Vegas stage tour when she was eleven.

Becoming a Child Star

What first inspired Aaliyah to become a star was her title role in Annie, her first-grade school play at Gesu Elementary in Detroit. The talented performer would gain great success, but she also went through a lot of criticism and hate. People would make fun of her for her height and other things.

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Aside from acting in plays, Aaliyah auditioned for many commercials and TV shows, like the sitcom Family Matters. Aaliyah was accepted to the Detriot High School for the Fine and Performing Arts after singing Ave Maria in Italian for her audition when she reached high school.

Grandma Was Her Biggest Fan

Aaliyah had the support of her whole family and the love of millions of admirers around the globe, but her biggest fan was her grandma, Mintis Hicks. Hicks was a constant source of encouragement for the young singer and always asked her to sing Get Here, the Oleta Adams song.

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Mintis liked to spoil Aaliyah and her brother and gave the young woman many gifts, including a stuffed monkey named Lina. Aaliyah admitted that she slept with Lina every night. After Mintis died in 1991, Aaliyah paid tribute to her by getting a dove tattoo in her memory.

Rock the Boat

Aaliyah was very proud of her heritage. She was Jamaican on her father’s side and had Native American ancestors on her grandma’s side. In a lot of the star’s songs and music videos, she references her background and pays respect to her family.

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In the music video for her song, Rock the Boat, Aaliyah’s styling is based on her Jamaican roots. She wears a dancehall wardrobe in the video, with the colors red, yellow, black, and green on her sarong. Aaliyah also sports a red fishnet top, hoop earrings, and a red hat in other scenes.

An Animal Charmer

Aside from being a multitalented superstar, Aaliyah was also somewhat of an animal charmer. Aaliyah appeared on MTV in 2001, along with her pet snake. She had received the snake as a gift from her uncle, and Carson Daly named him Boots.

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Aside from having her own pet snake, Aaliyah kept cats, ducks, iguanas, and two dogs named Tour and Rico at her house. She had a pretty odd group of pets, but nothing compared to her cousin Jomo’s pet, an alligator. Aaliyah was an animal lover, but even she thought an alligator was a bit much.

Her 4.0 GPA

Aaliyah may have been focusing her attention on becoming a star, but she wasn’t slacking in school. She excelled in the classroom and maintained a 4.0 GPA, to the pride of her parents. With the help of her support system and, most of all, her mother, Aaliyah, did so well.

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Her mom homeschooled Aaliyah during tours, and her teachers helped build her a unique curriculum. Aaliyah wanted to be a good role model for her fans, many of whom were also high schoolers. She also wanted a GED, just in case her plans to become famous failed.

Nothing but A Number

Barry Hankerson tried his best to help Aaliyah get signed to a record label, but to no avail. So, instead of giving up, the young singer’s devoted uncle created his own label, Blackground Records. He had tons of experience in the music industry, so it wasn’t a bad idea. Blackground’s music was distributed by Jive Records.

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Hankerson signed his niece Aaliyah to the label when she was twelve, and by age fourteen, she released her debut, fittingly named Age Ain’t Nothing but A Number. It was a huge success and sold over six million copies, and had five hit singles.

Her Own Signature Style

Aaliyah was adamant about creating her own signature style. She knew that every big star had their trademark look. Her mother suggested that Aaliyah wear her hair covering her eye like Veronica Lake to “add to the mystique of her personality,” and she often wore sunglasses, causing tabloids to speculate whether her eye was deformed.

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Aaliyah was also known for her feminine twists on baggy streetwear. However, she wouldn’t be caught in a dress for fear of losing a bet she had going with Missy Elliott about who would wear a dress first. Aaliyah lost the bet in 1998.

Meeting R. Kelly

Among the most popular R&B singers of the 1990s was R.Kelly. He was managed by Aaliyah’s uncle, Hankerson and after hearing her demo, agreed to join the team working on the young girl’s debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but A Number.

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Kelly’s talents certainly helped Aaliyah write and produce a hit album, but what went on backstage was the beginning of one of the most controversial stories in the music industry. R. Kelly and Aaliyah started going to the arcade and spending a lot of time together. Their relationship quickly became more than just friendly.

A Secret Wedding

Coworkers in every industry tend to fall in love and develop romantic relationships. However, the age difference between Aaliyah and R. Kelly was highly problematic. She was only fifteen and underage, while he was a full-grown man at twenty-seven. At first, they denied their relationship and claimed that they were just best friends.

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However, later on, Vibe magazine revealed that Kelly and Aaliyah had held a secret wedding on August 13th, 1994, and were married. To gain legal approval, Aaliyah had used a fake ID that said she was 18. The ID was supplied by Kelly’s friend, Demetrius Smith.

The Annulment of Their Marriage

For half a year, R. Kelly and Aaliyah kept denying their romantic involvement, the fact they were married, and rumors of a baby on the way. She was spotted walking Kelly’s dog and was always at his house, yet they continued to claim their relationship was purely platonic.

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In 1997, with the help of her parents, Aaliyah filed a suit to have their marriage annulled on the grounds that she hadn’t been of age to be married without parental consent legally. After that, the star cut off ties with Kelly completely, both personally and professionally.

Surviving R. Kelly

Aaliyah refused to talk to the press about her relationship with Kelly and changed the subject whenever anyone brought him up. Even privately, the issue was a hard one to breach; according to Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash, Aaliyah said that Kelly was a “bad man,” and she could only discuss it with a “professional counselor.”

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Aaliyah just wanted to move on and forget that her inappropriate relationship had ever happened. However, Aaliyah “got villainized” over her relationship with Kelly, and no one would let her leave the traumatic affair behind her.

They Could Have Been Saved

Kelly’s former colleague Demetrius Smith confessed in 2011 that R. Kelly had told him in 1995 that she believed Aaliyah to be pregnant and that he had helped Kelly get ahold of fake documents that allowed him to marry the teenage girl. Likewise, Jovante Cunningham revealed that she had seen R. Kelly have sex with Aaliyah in the back of a tour bus.

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Damon Dash later professed that if Robert Kelly had been appropriately dealt with by the authorities back when he illegally married Aaliyah, then many other girls could have been saved from him.

Justice Was Served

In 2021, thanks to numerous testimonies, R. Kelly was finally found guilty of the abuse of women and girls over the many years since his relationship with Aaliyah. His relationship with Aaliyah and his abuse of her was among the prosecution’s key evidence.

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According to Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah’s uncle, “If I had known what Robert Kelly was doing, Robert Kelly would not have to worry about a trial…I can’t say what would have happened, but there wouldn’t have been a trial if I had known about any of the things he was trying to do to my niece.”

Kicking Back with Kidada

Luckily, Aaliyah had many close friends aside from the abusive R. Kelly. Kidada Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, was a true friend to the star. Like Aaliyah, Kadida was an actress and a model, as well as a fashion designer.

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The two girls met in 1993 at a Tommy Hilfiger fashion show. Aaliyah and Kadida would hang out all the time and joked that they couldn’t wait to someday “kick back with their babies.” They had even planned to design a Japanese-inspired clothing line together, called “Dolly Pop,” for women and girls.

Timbaland and Missy Elliott

The misdirected villainization of Aaliyah following her messy involvement with R. Kelly impacted her career. Jive Records chose not to renew her contract, and Aaliyah had difficulty finding someone to produce her sophomore album. Luckily, she eventually was able to sign a contract with Atlantic Records.

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Aaliyah and her team were worried about how her new album, One in a Million, would be received. But, with the help of Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri, and Slick Rick on her new production team, it sold over eight million copies and featured six hit singles.

Her Breakout Role

Aaliyah had always loved to act and was ready to broaden her career. The singer wanted to try her hand at professional acting in Hollywood. Aside from her experience on the stage as a kid, Aaliyah decided to take classes with the well-known acting coach, Harold Guskin.

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Her breakout role was as Trish O’Day in the movie Romeo Must Die, a contemporary martial arts action flick based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The film was a great success, and Aaliyah starred opposite Jet Li. Furthermore, she produced and contributed four songs to the award-winning soundtrack, including the hit “Try Again.”

Queen of the Dammed

After her fantastic film debut, Aaliyah was offered many more roles. Her next big part was in Queen of the Dammed, a goth horror film which was based on the novel The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. Aaliyah played the role of Queen Akasha, a “manipulative, crazy, sexual being.”

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Aaliyah was obsessed with vampires and happily accepted the role. She wore fake teeth and nails and crazy makeup and costumes. Aaliyah loved playing the part of Akasha, but sadly it would be her last film role. Her brother Rashad would have to replace her to record dialogue during post-production.

Aaliyah: A Self-Titled Album

Because of her budding Hollywood career and long hours shooting movies, Aaliyah’s self-titled third album was significantly delayed. The much-anticipated record came out in 2001, five years after One in a Million. Aaliyah was also produced by Timbaland and released on Virgin Records.

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Timbaland felt that Virgin had rushed the album’s release and that he hadn’t had ample time to produce it as professionally as he had her previous album. Nevertheless, Aaliyah showed growth as a singer, and the album debuted on the Billboard charts at number 2. Aaliyah sold over thirteen million copies globally.

The Billboard Hot 100

Out of the three hit singles, Rock the Boat was almost not used by Virgin, who preferred the tracks that Timbaland produced. Rock the Boat had been made by Static Major nearly two years before the album’s release, but Virgin considered it to be too sexual.

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They thought it was inappropriate considering Aaliyah’s age and everything she had overcome to rebuild her image after R. Kelly. They wanted to release More Than a Woman as the second single, but Aaliyah convinced Virgin to use Rock the Boat, which stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for almost six months.

Losing An Oscar to Celine Dion

During her short life, Aaliyah released three albums and many singles. She was nominated for seventy-three awards and won fourteen, including two MTV Video Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and a Soul Train Music Award. Aaliyah also recorded many soundtrack hits like Journey to the Past from the 1997 film Anastasia.

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The sing was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe but lost to the Titanic hit, My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion. Despite not winning the award, in 1998, at age nineteen, Aaliyah became the youngest person to perform at the Oscars.

Ginuwine, Jay Z and Damon Dash

Because of her traumatic experiences with Kelly, it was a while before Aaliyah was ready to date again. When she felt the time was right, Aaliyah started seeing some pretty big names in the music industry. The star was very discreet and kept her romantic relationship very private, traumatized by the R. Kelly publicity.

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She dated fellow R&B star Ginuwine for a year before reportedly becoming involved with Shawn Carter, aka Jay Z. Her next boyfriend, Damon Dash, Jay-Z’s business partner, revealed that Aaliyah had been with Carter before she became involved with him.

Her Soul Mate

Aaliyah started seeing Damon Dash only a year before her untimely death. The two were introduced by their accountant and had an instant click. Aaliyah and Damon had the same interests and tastes. They also got each other’s mindset and passions, like true soul mates.

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As with all of Aaliyah’s relationships, they kept things out of the press, but it was reported that she hosted Dash’s 30th birthday party and frequently visited him. After her passing, Damon shared that they had discussed marriage and their future, despite being together for only one year.

Missing Her Family

In August 2001, after filming some ocean scenes in Miami for the music video Rock The Boat, Aaliyah and her film crew was set to travel to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas to finish the video. Aaliyah wasn’t herself on the trip and felt apprehensive about flying.

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She usually traveled with at least one of her family members, but she traveled alone and felt nervous this time. Her mother was recovering from surgery and needed Aaliyah’s dad by her side, and Rashad was visiting friends in Australia, so Aaliyah was left to her own devices.

That Fateful Flight

They filmed and spent time relaxing together in the beautiful Bahamas, where the director Hype Williams said, “everyone worked together and enjoyed each other during the downtime.” Aaliyah and her crew even completed their video a day early and decided to go home a day before they’d planned.

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Aaliyah and eight of her crew members boarded a ten-seat twin-engine Cessna 402-B. The plane was smaller than the one they’d flown in on and couldn’t safely carry the passengers’ weight along with heavy filming equipment. The aircraft crashed two hundred feet from takeoff, causing an explosion that killed everyone on board.

An Investigation Ensued

Rumors rose that the passengers had argued with the pilot over his warnings that the plane was too full. However, the flight still took off. After a thorough investigation, Blackhawk International Airways Corporation was held partially responsible for the crash due to negligence.

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Luis Morales, the pilot, had been on probation, and his license was suspended for falsifying information to the airline. Furthermore, the coroner reported finding traces of alcohol and cocaine in Morales’s system. Aaliyah’s family filed a lawsuit against Blackhawk Airways and Virgin Records, which continued for over a year and was settled out of court.

Twenty-Two White Doves

On August 31st, 2001, Aaliyah’s funeral was held at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York. In attendance at the private ceremony were the singer’s family and friends, including Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Sean Combs, Usher, and Gladys Knight. Meanwhile, fans mourned at makeshift shrines covered in posters and flowers.

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Aaliyah’s body was placed in a silver-plated casket and put in a horse-drawn glass hearse at the head of a procession from the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, which almost one thousand fans attended. After the funeral, her family released twenty-two white doves, honoring each year of Aaliyah’s life.

The Things She Could Have Done

The video for Rock the Boat was released after her death and went viral, becoming the most viewed music video of the year, and Aaliyah’s self-titled album rose to number one on the charts after her tragic death. Unfortunately, there were a few projects that Aaliyah didn’t live to complete.

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She’d begun filming scenes for The Matrix Reloaded in the role of Zee (played by Nona Gaye) and was signed on to act in the third Matrix movie as well. Likewise, Aaliyah was set to play the lead in the dance flick Honey, which went instead to Jessica Alba.

The Blackground Records Drama

After the death of Aaliyah, her uncle Barry Hankerson’s label Blackground Records went into a downward spiral that culminated in Timbaland and Toni Braxton suing for mismanagement. Things got worse when Blackground records started making bad decisions with their rights to Aaliyah’s music catalog.

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The singer put out a few unreleased tracks without her family’s permission and initially refused to offer her music to streaming services. Luckily, Aaliyah’s family stepped in and ensured that their daughter’s music would reach her fans and be released to the necessary channels.

She Would Have Reached the Stars

It is widely believed that if she hadn’t passed away, so young Aaliyah would have reached even greater stardom. She was often compared to a young Janet Jackson or Whitney Houston and would have made it very far due to her determination, clarity, and no-nonsense personality.

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Aaliyah’s tragic death was heartbreaking for her family, friends, and fans. She is not the only superstar to die under tragic circumstances. From Marylin Monroe and Whitney Houston to Biggie and Tupac, many other famous and much-loved stars also went before their time and left behind legacies full of unfulfilled potential.

Blonde Bombshell Marilyn Monroe

Marylin Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson and became known for her acting, singing, and talent as a comedian. She is famous for her beautiful blonde looks and style and her extramarital affair with President John F. Kennedy. Tragically, on August 5th, 1962, Marylin was discovered dead at age 36 in her LA home.

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Due to her much-publicized struggles with depression, Monroe’s death was ruled a suicide by way of a drug overdose. Although many believe that the government administered the drugs, eliminating her before she shared government secrets that JFK had let slip.

Natalie Wood’s Accident

Another Hollywood legend who died under suspicious circumstances was Natalie Wood. Her body was found on November 29th, 1981, floating in a cove off Santa Catalina Island. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning, but because the actress had been on a boating trip with Robert Wagner, her husband, many people, including her family, thought that he had murdered her.

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Wagner reported her missing after a night of drinking, but Christopher Walken, who was with them on the trip, claims that Wagner is innocent. Walken thinks Wood was alone when she slipped on a ski ramp and drowned.

The Talented River Phoenix

River Phoenix was a young heartthrob who started as a child star in the late ’80s. He was Joaquin Phoenix’s brother and became a household name after starring in the 1986 film Stand by Me. River left his fans heartbroken when he overdosed and died at the young age of 23.

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Many of his loved ones believed his death was actually a murder and were adamant that Phoenix wasn’t a drug user. In contrast, others claimed that he had a secret habit. Samantha Mathis, his then-girlfriend, shared that someone gave him a suspicious drink about an hour before River’s death.

Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina Brown

On February 11th, 2012, pop star Whitney Houston was discovered unresponsive in her bathtub. Paramedics failed to resuscitate her, and her death was ruled an accidental drowning. Several drugs, including cocaine, were found in Whitney’s system. Things started looking suspicious when Bobbi Kristina Brown, her 22-year-old daughter, died the same way three years later.

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Bobby Brown, her father, blames Bobbi’s ex-boyfriend Nick Gordon for both women’s deaths. Bobby claimed Nick “was the only one there [for] both situations.” In 2016, Nick was ruled responsible for Bobbi’s drowning but wasn’t charged, and four years later, he died of a heroin overdose.

The Rumors About Lana Turner

In 1957, Hollywood starlet Lana Turner started dating Johnny Stompanato, a bodyguard for the notorious mobster Mickey Cohen. Stompanato was four years Turner’s junior, but that didn’t stop her from welcoming him into her and her teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane’s lives. Unfortunately, Stompanato quickly began to abuse Lana physically and mentally.

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Then, on April 4th, 1958, Stompantao was stabbed to death at Turner’s house. Cheryl took full responsibility and claimed that she stabbed him to defend her mother from his abuse. The teenager’s actions were ruled as self-defense, but today, many believe Turner stabbed Stompantao.

The Tragic Loss of Princess Diana

Diana Spencer married Prince Charles and became Princess of Wales in 1981. She was nicknamed the “People’s Princess” because of her worldwide popularity. Despite their happy façade, in 1996, Diana and Prince Charles divorced after having two children together.

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Before her death, Diana was allegedly worried that Charles would have her killed and make it seem like an accident. On August 31st, 1997, Diana’s diver crashed her car, killing everyone in it except her bodyguard. The investigation found that the driver was drunk and desperately trying to avoid paparazzi, but many think it was no accident.

The Theory Surrounding Bruce Lee’s Passing

Bruce Lee is the most famous martial artist in history and starred in over thirty films before his passing in 1973. On a visit to his mistress, Betty Ting Pei’s home in Hong Kong, Bruce was given an Equagesic painkiller after complaining of a headache.

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The healthy 32 years old went for a nap and died in his sleep. Lee had no signs of external wounds, but his brain was extremely swollen. The official explanation was that he died because of a fatal allergic reaction to the painkiller. But some people have another theory; they believe that Betty poisoned him.

George Reeves’ Fatal Party

George Reeves, who played Superman in the show Adventures of Superman, died on June 16th, 1959. His death was ruled a suicide, but the forensic evidence suggests murder. The night Reeves passed, his fiancé and three friends were drunk at his house.

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They claimed Superman went to bed when they started partying and only came down to have one drink and ask them to be quiet. When a gunshot was heard upstairs, they were too drunk to notice. The autopsy ruled his death a suicide, despite suspicious bruises on his body and no gunpowder residue on his hands.

Brittany Murphy’s Poisoning

Brittany Murphy, the actress known for her famous roles in Clueless and Uptown Girls, passed away suddenly on December 20th, 2009. Murphy was healthy and physically fit at the time of her death and had previously shared, “I’ve never had an eating disorder. And I don’t do drugs.”

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Her passing was attributed to pneumonia, and the coroner claimed, “She had been sick for at least two weeks. Had they taken her to a doctor or a hospital, it would have been treatable.” However, when Brittany’s husband died, in the same way, six months later, people began suspecting they’d been poisoned.

Prince’s Fishy Medication

Prince, the famous singer-songwriter known for his larger-than-life persona and influential sound, became unresponsive on the way home from a show in April 2016. His private jet made an emergency landing and rushed Prince to a hospital, where it was discovered that he’d OD’d on opioids.

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Prince left the hospital and passed away at home six days later. The cause of death was an accidental overdose of fentanyl, caused by pills that looked like regular painkillers. The investigation thought Prince had been unaware they were fentanyl and issued a warrant to search the local Pharmacy but discovered no foul play.

The Foul Play Surrounding Thelma Todd

Actress and restaurateur Thelma Todd, known as The Ice Cream Blonde, was found dead at age 29, in her car, on December 16th, 1935. Todd’s death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning, and the official report said there weren’t “marks of violence anywhere upon or within the body.”

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However, unofficial sources revealed that Thelma had a broken nose, two cracked ribs, and markings on her neck. Some said that the mobster, Lucky Luciano, had forced a bottle of champagne down her throat and that she had received death threats before her passing. Nevertheless, her death was ruled a suicide.

Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive?

The performer and wrestler Andy Kaufman was well-loved for his unique comedy skills, often confusing and baffling his audience. Supposedly, Andy wanted to commit an elaborate hoax by convincing the world he was dead before reappearing after twenty years.

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Kaufman died of lung cancer on May 16th, 1984, after years of smoking. But many fans believed it was just a hoax and he would reappear after two decades. But 2004 came and went, and Andy didn’t return. In 2013, a woman claimed she was Andy’s daughter, and he was alive, but it turned out to be a prank.

Who Killed the Notorious BIG?

Christopher Wallace, aka the famous rapper The Notorious BIG, was thought to be responsible for his rival rapper Tupac Shakur’s death. But, Faith Evans, Biggie’s widow, claimed that her husband was in shock and broke down in tears after hearing the news about Tupac’s death.

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However, on March 9th, 1997, just six months after Tupac was shot, Biggie Smalls was shot too. He suffered four gunshots in a drive-by shooting and died in surgery hours later at age twenty-four. To this day, the identity of the influential musician’s murderer is a mystery.

David Carradine’s Fatal Fetish

The talented David Carradine is renowned for his martial arts roles in both the 1970’s TV series Kung Fu and the Kill Bill films, as Bill. In 2009, in Thailand, where he was shooting the film Stretch, Carradine was found dead in his hotel room closet.

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The actor was hanging naked by a rope, and the police initially believed he’d committed suicide. However, in the end, his death was attributed to accidental asphyxiation, after two of his former spouses shared that David had a fetish for self-bondage, which led to the fatality.

Dolores O’Riordan’s Accidental Drowning

Dolores O’Riordan was an Irish singer-songwriter and acted as the lead in the band The Cranberries. Known for her distinctive voice that will forever be remained in alternative rock history, O’Riordan passed away in her London hotel room’s bath on January 15th, 2018.

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Tabloids wrote that O’Riordan’s death was a suicide caused by a fentanyl overdose. But her friends and manager claim that she was not suicidal at the time of her death, despite having suffered from depression in the past. Eventually, the cause of death was ruled an accidental drowning that was brought on by alcohol-induced sedation.

Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s Shocking Shooting

Carl Switzer was the original child star gone wrong. He became famous for his role as Alfalfa in the Our Gang movies from the 1930s. Carl was too associated with Alfalfa and his signature hairstyle that he struggled to land other parts after the film franchise ended.

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So, he switched careers and became a dog trainer. In 1959, Switzer began training a canine for his friend Bud Stiltz. Stilz and Switzer soon had a money dispute, and Stilz shot and killed Carl. He claimed that it had been in self-defense, but a witness testified that it was murder.

Jack Nance’s Blow to the Head

Jack Nance, star of the 1977 David Lynch film, Eraserhead, passed away on December 30th, 1996. Nance had suffered a severe blow to the head the day before. The 53-year-old actor had met with friends on December 29th and told them, when asked about a bruise under his eye, that he’d “told some kid off.”

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Jack went home to sleep off the headache he’d sustained from the blow and was found dead on the floor. Nance had suffered a subdural hematoma caused by the blow to his head. His death was ruled a homicide, but his assailant was never apprehended.

Tupac Shakur’s Mysterious Murderer

The influential rap star Tupac Shakur watched Mike Tyson defeat Bruce Seldon in a boxing match the night of his death on September 7th, 1996. On their way out of the boxing venue, Tupac’s crew spotted Orlando Anderson, a rival gang member who had previously assaulted one of them.

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2Pac promptly attacked Anderson with the help of his crew. After departing the venue, Tupac was shot four times by an unknown person driving in a white Cadillac. 2Pac died six days later at age twenty-five. Anderson was the prime suspect, but many believed Biggie was behind 2Pac’s death.

Elizabeth Short: The Black Dahlia

The aspiring 22-year-old actress, Elizabeth Short, worked as a waitress while trying to charm her way into Hollywood with her attractive looks and beautiful black curls. Unfortunately, Short gained fame only after her terrifying murder on January 15th, 1947.

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Her body was discovered mutilated completely, in the most gruesome way, but no evidence of the murderer was found at the scene. The case was nicknamed The Black Dahlia and gained much notoriety. Many people became obsessed and led investigations, later claiming they knew who had done the deed, but it remains unsolved despite the many leads, theories, and suspects.

Brandon Lee’s Infamous Set Fatality

Twenty years following Bruce Lee’s suspicious death, his son Brandon Lee died of fatal injuries on the set of the horror flick, The Crow. Brandon was 28 years old and filming a scene in which his character died. The crew loaded the prop gun with blanks but didn’t realize it still had one dummy bullet inside an earlier scene.

Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Miramax Films

Therefore, when Michael Massee pulled the trigger, the dummy bullet hit Lee in the stomach. He was quickly rushed to the hospital but died during surgery. The death was ruled an accident, but some fans believe it was purposeful.

Bonnie Lee Bakley’s Cold-Blooded Murder

Known for his role in the 1967 film In Cold Blood, actor Robert Blake was later, famously, a person of interest in his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley’s murder investigation. Bonnie was shot in the head on May 4th, 2001, after having dinner with her husband at Vitello’s Restaurant in Studio City.

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Bonnie waited in the passenger seat of their vehicle while Blake returned to the restaurant to get a firearm that he’d left inside. Robert was stood trial for her murder, but he was declared not guilty after his gun was proven not to be the murder weapon.

Robert Edward Crane’s Shocking Secrets

The star of the beloved 60s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, Robert Edward Crane, had a good, clean reputation before his death. But after he was discovered beaten to death on June 29th, 1978, shocking secrets began to pop up.

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Videotapes of his sexual escapades were uncovered during his murder investigation, many of which were made with his best friend, John Henry Carpenter. Carpenter became a person of interest, but the evidence against him was circumstantial. Crane’s son claimed that the actor ended his friendship with Carpenter one day before his murder, but the investigation failed to prove it was him.

Virginia Caroline Rappe’s Horrible Assault

Silent film actress and model Virginia Caroline Rappe passed away on September 9th, 1921. Three days earlier, she’d attended a party with actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, who was later accused of sexually assaulting her. According to a witness, Virginia “[writhed] in pain on the bed” and screamed, “He did this to me!” pointing at Arbuckle.

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The cause of Rappe’s death was a ruptured bladder, which was initially thought to be caused by rape. Roscoe was charged with Rappe’s murder but later acquitted when evidence suggested she had never been assaulted and died of health issues resulting from alcoholism.

Jill Dando’s Murder Mystery

Jill Dando, a co-presenter of BBC One’s Crimewatch, was shot in the head outside of her house on April 26th, 1999. A witness saw a tall, middle-aged white man walk away from her home, leading Barry George, a known sex offender, to be found guilty of her murder. However, George was acquitted after a retrial eight years later.

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One theory began because of a phone call from someone claiming to be responsible. It caused many to believe a Serbian man killed her after Britain murdered seventeen young people there. However, this theory was never investigated, and the case remains cold.

Jimi Hendrix’s Sad End

Since September 18th, 1970, when Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest rock guitarists in history, died tragically from a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, there have been rumors about his death. Although Hendrix entered the 27 Club in a clichéd rockstar way, many believe something sinister was happening.

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The toxicology report revealed that Jimi had barbiturates and wine in his system, and his girlfriend alleged that he’d ingested nine sleeping tablets. Four decades later, rumors rose claiming that Hendrix hadn’t taken the pills by choice but that his manager James Wright, had killed him for insurance money.

Ronni Chasen’s Robbery Gone Wrong?

The investigators from Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen’s case alleged that a professional marksman shot her on her way home from a movie premiere in 2010. However, they were sure that her murder was a robbery gone wrong and focused on an ex-con before changing their mind and calling it a random act of violence. But something didn’t add up.

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No murder weapon was found, nor arrests made. Newspapers published a story that the main suspect committed suicide, with the same gun used on Ronni when confronted by the police. But the authorities still today haven’t solved the crime.

Peter Ivers’ Contaminated Evidence

It is known that murders are usually committed by someone the victim knew personally, and Peter Ivers knew everyone. Ivers was a famous musician and TV host and was friends with everyone in the entertainment biz. When he was discovered in 1983, bludgeoned to death in his own home, everyone was a suspect.

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Things got worse when all his friends and family showed up at the crime scene to pay their respects. The police didn’t ensure that the crime scene was off-limits, and people entered Ivers home, contaminating any evidence beyond use. Peters’ murderer was never found.

William Desmond Taylor’s Tampered Case

When the silent film star, William Desmond Taylor, was killed, his murder investigation was also botched. When his body was first discovered in his apartment, a crowd surrounded the body. Next, a man claimed he was a doctor (with no proof) and before disappearing suggested that Taylor died of stomach hemorrhaging.

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Finally, the police got the situation under control, and after the body was analyzed, it appears that the cause of death was a gunshot wound from a gun found at his apartment. However, by then, any usable evidence had been tainted, and the murderer was never apprehended.

Jam Master Jay’s Drive-By GSW

Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, a member of the rap group Run-D.M.C, was shot to death at a recording studio in New York in October of 2002. Evidence suggests that Jay knew the assailant and even invited him into the studio. Although, the other victim, who’d sustained a gunshot wound in the leg, could not identify the shooter.

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One Ronald Washington was named by the police as a suspect five years later but was never charged. There are many other theories; some say Mizell died because of ties with the drug trade, although it’s never been proven.

The Many Stories Surrounding Sam Cooke’s Death

On December 11th, 1964, the police received two phone calls from the Hacienda Motel in LA. One call reported a kidnapping and the other gunshots. When they arrived at the scene, police found the talented musician Sam Cooke dead from a gunshot wound.

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Bertha Franklin, the motel manager, was the shooter, and she claimed it had been in self-defense, saying Cooke had stormed into her office, basically naked, shouting, “Where’s the girl?” He was referring to Elisa Boyer, who alleged that Cooke kidnapped her. Some believe the tale of kidnapping, while others think Boyer robbed Cooke and was lying.

Peg Entwistle’s Haunting Story

This haunting story is a Hollywood legend about a young British actress, Peg Entwistle, who finally lands a breakout role, only to have most of her scenes cut out in the final edit. In a fit of despair, Peg kills herself by jumping off the Hollywood sign. So poetically tragic, it sounds made up.

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But Peg did jump, and a suicide note was found signed by her that said, “I am afraid I’m a coward. I am sorry for everything… PE” However, no one knows if she indeed ended her life because of the critique on her breakout role.

Brian Jones’ Baffling Demise

Just one month following his firing from the Rolling Stones in 1968, Brian Jones was found unresponsive in the swimming pool of his England farmhouse. Anna Wohlin, the twenty-seven-year-old’s girlfriend, was the one who found him. She swears that she still felt a pulse. However, the paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

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Jones had well-known issues with substance abuse, and the coroner quickly ruled his death an accident. Soon afterward, a theory about Jones’ death rose, suggesting murder. Reports arose claiming that a construction worker who was working on Brian’s house had bragged about killing him after being under-compensated.