Aaliyah took a sleeping pill and was escorted to the plane prior to the crash.
According to a shocking new biography on her life, R&B singer and actress Aaliyah refused to board the flight that ultimately cost her her life.
After decades of silence, an eyewitness claims that the singer was given a sleeping pill and transported unconscious onto the suspect aircraft prior to her 2001 fatal crash in the Bahamas.
The shocking allegation was made in music journalist Kathy Iandoli's new biography, "Baby Girl: Also Known as Aaliyah."
“They took her out of the van; she had no idea she was about to board a plane,” Kingsley Russell, 33, who was with Aaliyah — full name Aaliyah Dana Haughton — prior to the fateful flight, told the Daily Mail. “She boarded the plane unconscious.”
Russell, then 13, was in the cab with his mother as she drove the five-time Grammy winner and her team to the airport for their return flight to Miami. Aaliyah, 22, had just completed filming the music video for her chart-topping single "Rock the Boat," and her team was eager to return to the United States.
However, Aaliyah — a fearful flyer — allegedly expressed reservations about boarding the aircraft after learning of its overweight condition. According to the Daily Beast, the pilot explained that the aircraft would be too crowded with eight passengers, including Aaliyah's 300-pound bodyguard, as well as their bags and cameras.
The actress from "Romeo Must Die" reportedly became even more agitated when they arrived at the airport and noticed the small plane. According to Russell's testimony, the Brooklyn native fell asleep in the cab while her team sorted out the mess, claiming she had a headache.
A few moments later, the hip-crew hopper's returned to ascertain what had happened, and Aaliyah reiterated her concerns. Russell claimed that at this point, one of her team members administered a sleeping pill to the "Loose Rap" singer, causing her to fall into a deep sleep, after which she was carried onto the plane unconscious.
Just after takeoff, the vocalist's worst fears were realized. The small, two-engine Cessna was unable to gain altitude and crashed approximately 200 feet from the runway's end, killing Aaliyah and her entourage of eight.
According to the Daily Beast, an autopsy revealed that Aaliyah had sustained extensive burns and severe head trauma, rendering her chances of survival "unthinkable."
According to the New York Times, it was later discovered that the tiny aircraft had exceeded its weight limit by several hundred pounds. Additionally, the weight distribution was erroneous, making the aircraft difficult to control while in flight. Meanwhile, according to a 2002 toxicology report, the pilot allegedly forged his license and was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the accident.
The revelation contradicted contemporaneous reports that Aaliyah was adamant about boarding the flight.
“I remember being devastated when Aaliyah died,” Iandoli told the Daily Beast. “According to the story, she was adamant about getting on the plane. I was on the verge of being enraged with her. Why were you so desperate to board that plane?”
Regrettably, Russell's testimony did not provide much closure for the author.
“The only thing I've taken with me is the knowledge that, after 20 years, Aaliyah did not want to board the plane,” she added. “That makes me feel slightly better, but not significantly so. This was not necessary. She should still be here, and I believe that is the most heartbreaking aspect of it.”