With a glass-paneled, horse-drawn hearse parked nearby, fans of pop star Aaliyah lined the street outside a New York funeral home this morning (Aug. 31) to pay their respects. The hearse was to carry
With a glass-paneled, horse-drawn hearse parked nearby, fans of pop star Aaliyah lined the street outside a New York funeral home this morning (Aug. 31) to pay their respects. The hearse was to carry the body of the two-time Grammy nominee about four blocks from the Madison Avenue funeral home to a private service at St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church.
"It is so beautiful. She's going out like a princess," said Nicole Campbell, 24, of Brooklyn, who had been camping out in front of the church since 6 p.m. yesterday. "It was a whole group of us, just playing her music. We had a prayer for her. We had a mini-concert on a stereo, playing her music. We were just celebrating the life that she had."
The 22-year-old singer-actress died Saturday in a plane crash in the Bahamas, where she had been shooting a music video. All nine people in the small plane were killed in the accident, which is under investigation.
A public memorial service in honor of Aaliyah is being held today at Cipriani's 42nd Street (110 E. 42nd St.). A continuous loop of Aaliyah's videos, performances, and music will be played throughout the event, which will end at 8 p.m.
Yesterday, fans signed their names in a guest book outside the funeral home. "I'm totally devastated by this great loss," said Glory Mosby, 29, one of the first few to sign. "May U Rest in Peace -- You are still the greatest," one person wrote in the guest book. "Your light will shine on." Others solemnly printed their names and addresses. By late afternoon, an employee of the funeral home added pages to the book, which was filled with names and statements.
Ramon Polenberg, 24, a UPS employee, pulled his truck over in front of the building to sign the book. Polenberg said he met Aaliyah at a toy store where she stopped to buy candy. He remembered her selections -- "red fish and M&Ms." "She just seemed like one of those people that had a real glow to them," he said.
Darlene Corbin, 33, stood outside the funeral home for more than an hour, watching people come and go. "So many lives she touched," Corbin said. "She probably never had an inkling as to how many people loved her."
Several large flower arrangements were carried in through a side door, including a bouquet of pink roses bearing a card with "Aaliyah" printed inside a heart. A pink teddy bear was propped near the guest book. Children stood on tiptoes to read the pages and write their names.
"She was sending out a message to all the young kids, and the kids loved her," said Mary Harvey, 25, who brought her three young nieces from Brooklyn. "She will be missed." One of Harvey's nieces, Coral Foxworth, 9, said: "She never made negative songs. She was all positive, and family came first."
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