It’s with a heavy heart that we report singer Leah LaBelle and her husband, former NBA player Rasual Butler, died in a car crash in Studio City, CA on Wednesday (Jan. 31).
According to TMZ, Butler was 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 officials believe he was speeding before the crash.
LaBelle is best known as a contestant on the third season of “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 of teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs. Most recently, he was part of Ice Cube’s BIG3 league. He was 38.
Friends took to social media to mourn the devastating loss including Pharrell, Bryan-Michael Cox, 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.”
RIP RASUAL AND LEAH OMGGGG THIS IS SO SADD!!!!!!! 😢😢😢😢😢😢
— Karrueche Tran (@karrueche) January 31, 2018
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. I just replayed the voice note you sent me on my birthday. Please someone assure me this is not real. And that we are still gonna meet up and sing and harmonize and encourage each other and laugh out asses off real soon. LEAH You have the light of GOD inside you. Everyone you touched was blessed by your presence. PURE. You were GENUINE. The REAL THING. Can’t believe I’m writing about you in the past tense!!!!! 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. 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.
ELLE. literally just talked to you on Saturday before I hopped on the plane to NYC for the Grammys. this is unbelievable. i remember when @pharrell played @jermainedupri and i that youtube clip of you singing, we all were like “we have to find this girl!” we reached out via your youtube page and you hit back and that was the beginning of our friendship. you were someone that i always believed in. this is a harsh reminder that we don’t control the time we have here so we must make the most out of every moment. sending my condolences to your family, especially your mother. we lost a very special person this morning and the heavens gained an angel. rest well, @leahlabelle 💔