NBA and music stars mourn deaths of Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle

The former NBA star was at the wheels when the SUV reportedly hit a parking meter before hitting a wall, tipping over and coming to a rest inside a shopping mall parking lot.


                            NBA and music stars mourn deaths of Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle

American Idol star Leah LaBelle and her husband, former NBA star Rasual Butler, were killed after their Range Rover was involved in a high-speed crash in California in the early hours of Wednesday. 

Both Rasual Butler and wife Leah LaBelle were the only reported casualties in the crash. (Source: RMZ news)

According to a report by TMZ, law enforcement rushed to the scene at around 2 am after the crash was reported near Studio City in Los Angeles.

The former NBA star was at the wheels when the SUV reportedly hit a parking meter before hitting a wall, tipping over and coming to a rest inside a shopping mall parking lot.

Butler was 38 years old and Labelle was 31 years old.

Butler's Range Rover flipped over after it struck a parking meter in Los Angeles. Police said he was speeding at least twice the 35mph speed limit at the time. (Source: RMZ news)

 

Both Butler and LaBelle were pronounced dead at the scene, said Ed Winter, assistant chief investigator with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.  

Debris from Rasual Butler's Range Rover at the scene of the accident in Studio City (Source: RMZ news)

According to a local LA media report, police officers at the scene said Butler was driving at 70 miles an hour while the speed limit is 35 miles per hour at the stretch. 

The cause of the accident is yet to be known as autopsies and investigations are underway. 

Leah LaBelle Mourned by Pharrell, JoJo, Fantasia & More After Fatal Car Crash With Husband Rasual Butler. (Source: Twitter)

Butler's NBA career spanned 13 seasons and 14 years from 2002 to 2016. He was drafted my the Miami Heat in 2002 and also played major seasons with the Hornets, Bulls, Raptors, Clippers, Spurs, Pacers and Wizards. 

LaBelle first stepped into fame on Simon Cowell‘s US TV show American Idol, before going on to forge a solo R&B career before marrying Butler. She secured the 12th position in the third season of American Idol in 2004. 

LaBelle first stepped into fame on Simon Cowell‘s US TV show American Idol, before going on to forge a solo career in R&B. (Source: Facebook)

Many sports personalities and celebrities mourned the couple and paid tribute to them on social media.

Chris Martin Palmer from the LA Lakers said he was crushed by the deaths.



 

 



Minnesota Timberwolves star Jamal Crawford intoned: “Damn this one hurts! RIP Rasual Butler & his wife Leah. Sounds so cliche, but Rasual was really one of the good ones!! 



Former NBA star Reggie Miller wrote: “Saddened by the news and the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife Leah. Talk about a great dude and family man. I know he had many stops during his 13 year NBA journey, but he was beloved because of his work ethic in Indiana. New guardian Angels”. 



 The LA Clippers tweeted: 



Miami Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement, "This is beyond a sad day for the Miami Heat Family. Rasual was one of the greatest people we have ever had play for us; a great player, teammate and better person." 



Indian Pacers tweeted: 



  



  



LaBelle's full name was Leah LaBelle Vladowski. She was born on September 8, 1986 in Toronto, Canada. LaBelle also has a daughter named Raven from a previous relationship, but Raven got close to her new father that she adopted his surname. LaBelle contested in American Idol when she was just 16 years of age.

 



Jennifer Hudson, who finished 7th in the same season of American Idol paid tribute to LaBelle on her Instagram. Hudson is now judging The Voice UK.

LaBelle found her peak when se signed up to Pharrell Williams' I Am Other label. Her most popular track until date is 'Sexify', garnering over a million plus views on YouTube. 



Butler had the ability to play both shooting guard and small forward and also had an innate ability to shoot.  



In 2013, Butler was named the NBA D-League's "Impact Player of the Year."

Rasual Butler playing for New Orleans (Source: Facebook)

Butler was a part of the four-team deal that included All-Stars Eddie Jones, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and forward James Posey. The teams between whom the deal was brokered included Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat. The said deal was the largest trade in NBA's history.

Butler's best seasons were in 2008-2009 when he maintained an average of 11.2 points a game for the Hornets, and the time he averaged 11.9 points and 33 minutes per game for the Clippers back in 2009-2010.

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