Singer Leah LaBelle and husband Rasual Butler, a former NBA player, died in a single car collision in Studio City, Calif. on Wednesday (Jan. 31).
Butler was reportedly driving the vehicle, before losing control at approximately 2 a.m. Their Range Rover hit a parking meter and a wall before flipping over. Law enforcement ficials believe he was speeding before the crash, according to TMZ.
LaBelle is best known as a contestant on the third season “American Idol,” which took place in 2004. After rave reviews from Paula Abdul and a 12th place finish, she went on to sign a joint deal with Epic Records, Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def, and Pharrell Williams’ I Am Other. She was 31.
Butler was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2002 and played in the NBA until 2016 under a variety teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs. Most recently, he was part Ice Cube’s BIG3 league. He was 38.
Friends took to social media to mourn the devastating loss, including Karrueche Tran, LaBelle’s fellow Season 3 “Idol” contestant Fantasia, and JoJo, who penned a heartfelt note to her close friend. “Leah, you are my sister. I love you,” she wrote. “and I feel so fortunate that you were in my life. Sing with the angels in heaven. You were an angel on earth.”
Butler’s former teammate Paul Pierce added: “So sad this morning to hear] about my friend and teammate 😢 RIP Rasual Butler appreciate the people around u because u never kno.”
Butler’s former teams have also issued statements. “Our entire organization is deeply saddened after learning the death former Pacers player Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle,” wrote the Indiana team. Miami added: “We are deeply saddened by the passing Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends Rasual and Leah. They will be missed.”