Friends, Fans Mourn Aaliyah

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Detroit, New York and Hollywood were united Monday in their sorrow over the loss of 22-year-old Aaliyah, the soulful young R&B star killed in a plane crash Saturday at the height of her too-short career.

In Detroit, where Aaliyah was raised, hundreds gathered near the Detroit High School of Fine and Performing Arts, Aaliyah's alma mater, for a candlelight vigil.

"I just felt like I needed to be a part of this. To cry together, to remember together and to sing together," said mourner Demetrice Greene-Luckey, 27, who never met the singer.

"It hurts even for a lot of people that don't know her personally, because we can relate to her and we admire her spirit," Greene-Luckey added. "She was such an inspiration to the young people to show us we can do everything we set our minds to."

During the vigil, fans scrawled messages to the singer on posters and cards spread on the ground. Some held pictures of Aaliyah; others brought flowers, stuffed animals and balloons.

In New York City, where Aaliyah was born and resided before her death, a larger-than-life portrait of the singer sprouting wings took shape on the side of a building on Manhattan's Lower East Side. A Sunset Boulevard billboard promoting Aaliyah's latest album was covered in messages by fans in West Hollywood, Calif.

Aaliyah — whose name in Arabic means "powerful one" — had deep roots in the R&B community. The performer had two Grammy nominations, a platinum album and several high-profile movie roles.

Rapper DMX, who had a role in Aaliyah's feature film debut, Romeo Must Die, said: "Talented, classy, warm, beautiful, compassionate, humble best describes my memories of Aaliyah, a down to earth sister with enough energy to put anyone on a cloud. How unfortunate."

R&B superstar R. Kelly produced the first of Aaliyah's three albums. His record label, Jive, released a statement: "R. Kelly is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Aaliyah."

Aaliyah was a nominee at this year's "Lady of Soul Awards," which was to be taped Tuesday in Los Angeles for syndicated broadcast Saturday. The show's producer, Don Cornelius, said the mood would be more somber because of her death.

"You are going to hear a lot of tributes to Aaliyah, and rightfully so," he told the syndicated TV show Extra. "She was so very special."

A spokeswoman for the family told The Associated Press that no details about the arrangements would be released. She said it was unclear if there would be a public memorial for the young star.

Aaliyah was en route to Miami after working in the Bahamas on a music video when the plane crashed Saturday shortly after takeoff. Eight others on board also died.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.