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Illustration by Oscar Rodriguez, 18

Aaliyah’s sudden death in an Aug. 25 plane crash in the Bahamas left many of her fans stunned. The 22-year-old singer and actress had a shining future ahead of her. Her young career was just blooming and fans only saw a glimpse of her talent. No one will ever know the impact she could have made on the music industry.

But Aalyiah did have a profound impact on her fans. In the last issue of L.A. Youth, readers were encouraged to write in and express their thoughts about the death of this rising star, twice nominated for a Grammy Award. Here’s what her local fans said:

It’s sad to see a young artist go. Aaliyah had such a promising future. But this only goes to show that no matter how much money you have or how popular you are, when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.
    So young and so promising, Aaliyah will truly be missed by millions. A girl with a dream who made it come true. Through Aaliyah’s music, she will live on. So many fans play the songs that captured our hearts.
    A star in the making, yes. Aaliyah was meant to shine as we remember her highest peaks. In her life let’s not forget her family. She was someone’s little princess. She was someone’s pride and joy. She’ll be a legend forever and ever until the end of time.
    Even through the rain, her beautiful smile, eyes and personality will always bring out the sunshine. A star that’s going to live on, even after the sunset.

Here’s a poem called Morning Dew that I wrote for this legend:

A beautiful sunrise
The brightest star
A legend in the sky
A glimpse of the moon
Only to end with a sunset of you.

—Jennifer Washington, 17, Narbonne HS

When I heard that Aaliyah had died in a plane crash, I felt like a knife left a wound in my heart for life. My coach told us what happened and we were shocked! We didn’t believe what happened.
I went home after that and watched Angel and Roswell. Then I saw more of the real tragedy in the news. I couldn’t sleep for two nights and I couldn’t eat very well. After three days, my depression left me, but I still visit Aaliyah through her music. She touched my heart and soul.
I can’t stand it when people who are popular and loved get what they don’t deserve. I feel very sad that she’s gone from her fans’ eyes in this world forever. But wherever she is, I hope her soul reads this letter and other letters. I hope her soul reads these dedications of how we miss her. Aaliyah’s songs will always remain recorded in me.
—Mauricio Rafael Salguero, no school or age given in letter

Knowing that Aaliyah is gone makes me feel really bad. Even though I’ve never met her, being who she was made me love her and what she was about. I think she had so much to live for. And I’m hurt knowing that all of it ended just like that. She will always have a place in my heart as well as others.
—Charles Tilford, 17, Kennedy HS

Aaliyah was beautiful! She was a great singer and actress. Every time I saw her on TV, she was always happy. She loved her family and all her fans very much. I still can’t believe she’s gone. The reality hasn’t really sunk in yet.
    When I listen to her music now, it’s kind of spooky knowing she’s gone. But her music will forever live on. It really hurts to know she lived such a short life. But at the same time, she achieved so much. She had so much to do with singing and acting.
    She wasn’t ready to leave this world yet. I will truly miss her. She really was one in a million.
Aaliyah, may you forever rest in peace.
—Angie Ly, 17, Alhambra HS

Aaliyah’s death affected me tremendously. She was a great role model to many youth. She was a beautiful, talented person. Of all the female artists who I’ve seen, Aaliyah’s style and class were perfect. This made almost everyone want to imitate her.
    I’m still not over the fact that she’s dead. Her spirit will live on through her music and I hope that a lesson is learned. The lesson being that you never know when it’s your time and always think of your lasting impression.
    Aaliyah, we love you and at your best, you are still loved. Rest in peace, baby girl.
—Shonda James, 16, Dorsey HS

The death of singer and actress Aaliyah has affected me in so many ways. I loved her style of music. It also struck me when I found out who else was on the plane. One of the members of her "Glam Squad" was a friend of my dance teacher. He had also done make up at some of our shows. He was a victim, too.
    I feel that Aaliyah was taken from us too soon. I honestly don’t believe that her job was fulfilled on this earth. I know that God wanted her for a reason and that everything happens for one reason or another. She’s up there now singing with the angels.
—Kelsey N. Perkins, 13, Hollywood HS

"Aaliyah has been in a plane crash," I heard the newsman say on Aug. 25. For a moment there I didn’t believe what they said. But then I did. I was shocked and crying when I heard she died. She really meant a lot to me. I loved the way she sang, danced and made her songs and music videos.
Now that we don’t have her here with us on earth, we will just have her songs to remember her voice and her great talent she had in her life. Now all the fans will always carry her in their hearts and souls just as I will always, because she inspired me to be a singer. Also, because I want to be a singer and have the talent she had in her life. Like I said, we will all remember her and have her in our hearts and souls.
—Yasmin Carrillo, 12, Nimitz Middle School

Aaliyah’s death had a major impact on me. I looked up to her. She inspired me in many ways. I admired her dancing and personality the most. She was so sweet and humble. She always considered others. She was a beautiful person inside and out. She was definitely one in a million. She will be missed, but never forgotten. R.I.P., Aaliyah.
—Rickesha Williams, King/Drew Medical Magnet

One morning I was listening to the radio, the "Big Boy in the Morning" show, and they were playing one of Aaliyah’s top sounds called "Try Again." When the song was over, Big Boy said that Aaliyah died.
    I started crying, because my Aaliyah died in a plane crash.
—Blanca Amaya, 17