Former NBA Player Rasual Butler and Wife Leah LaBelle Killed in Car Crash
Early this morning, Rasual Butler (38) and Leah LaBelle (31) were both killed in a single car crash in Studio City, CA. TMZ reports Butler “lost control of his Range Rover around 2 AM, struck a parking meter and slammed into a wall.”
Butler — drafted in 2002 by the Miami Heat — had an impressive 14 year-career in the NBA. He went on to play for teams such as — the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers and more offered their condolences on Twitter.
The Los Angeles Clippers wrote: “The L.A. Clippers are deeply saddened by the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. Rasual will long be remembered not only for his accomplishments on the court, but for his vibrant personality, positive outlook and the compassion he had for everyone around him.”
LaBelle — born Leah LaBelle Vladowski — was a Canadian-born R&B singer who starred on the third season of American Idol, and was ultimately signed to Epic Records/So So Def Recordings in 2011. LaBelle, however, was first introduced to the music industry when Keri Hilson hired her as a background vocalist. Of Hilson’s mentorship, LaBelle was quoted saying: “She’s brought me along with her [on tour] and allowed me to see into the industry a little bit deeper than I already have.”
After signing a record deal, LaBelle’s first single “Sexify” was released in March of 2012. The song received high praise from fans for it’s throwback R&B sound, with the music video featuring fellow Hip Hop/R&B artists, Jermaine Dupri and JoJo. Check it out below.
Many have taken to social media to remember the late singer. Pharrell wrote: “@leahlabelle , your spirit was just as your voice; beautiful. Moments like these leave us with so many questions. What I don’t question is how much you loved God, how much you love your life partner and where you guys are now. Sing Sis, sing.”
JoJo wrote: “Leah. beautiful sister from another mister. You will NEVER EVER be forgotten. Your voice. Your spirit. Your light. Cannot comprehend what this loss means. Thinking about your unwavering faith in God brings me peace. I love you, forever angel.”
A fan of LaBelle, I had the pleasure of seeing her perform in 2013 — she was incredibly kind and so, so talented. My thoughts go out to the couple’s families during this difficult time.
Rest In Peace, Rasual and Leah.