17:44, January 31 335 0 usmagazine.com

2018-01-31 17:44:03


Former NBA Player Rasual Butler, Wife Leah LaBelle Killed in Car Crash

Former NBA player Rasual Butler and his wife, American Idol alum Leah LaBelle, both died in a car accident early Wednesday, January 31, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office has confirmed. Butler was 38. LaBelle was 31.

TMZ reported that the former Miami Heat player lost control of his Range Rover at around 2 a.m. in Studio City, California, and then hit parking meters before the vehicle crashed into a wall. The car reportedly also flipped over.

Butler was first drafted by the Heat in 2002 and went on to play for the New Orleans Hornets, the L.A. Clippers, the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors, the Indiana Pacers, the Washington Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs during his 14-year NBA career. He is survived by daughter Raven Butler from a previous relationship. Belle, 31, came in 12th place during season 3 of American Idol in 2004 and was later signed to Epic Records.

The athlete’s teams and celebrities who knew the pair took to social media to send out their condolences and to mourn the loss of the couple via Twitter and Instagram. “Rest easy my brother. See you when I get there!!!” basketball player Allen Iverson captioned a photo of Butler on Wednesday.

The Washington Wizards tweeted a message on their account: “We send our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah. #DCFamily”

“That SMILE. That VOICE. That inside-out GLOW. My @leahlabelle. My sister. Woke up this morning and heard you were gone. This can’t be real,” singer JoJo wrote on Instagram. “And you and @rasualbutler8 ‘s relationship was SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LOVE TO WITNESS AND FEEL. Best friends, believers, partners. A love that survived so much. We want and need more from you both. I cannot accept that the two of you are gone.”

She added: “Leah, you are my sister. I love you. and I feel so fortunate that you were in my life. Sing with the angels in heaven. You were an angel on earth.”

Scroll down to see more messages from other NBA stars and people close to the couple.