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NBA Star Rasual Butler And Wife Leah LaBelle Killed In Car Crash

NBA Star Rasual Butler And Wife Leah LaBelle Killed In Car Crash

Yesterday, former NBA player Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle - a former American Idol contestant - died after their speeding Range Rover hit a parking meter near Studio City in Los Angeles at 2am.

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According to accounts, the car was travelling at least twice the 35mph speed limit when it hit the meter, then slammed into a wall and flipped over, leaving the 38-year-old basketball player and his 31-year-old wife dead. No other vehicles were involved.

The couple leave behind a daughter, Raven, from a previous marriage of Butler's. Just days before the accident he had posted a picture of her on Instagram accompanied by a gushing comment about her that read:

"My daughter is so (water wave emoji) yyyy! Her Aura, spirit, style, creativity, intellect, passion and understanding for her age is a beautiful thing to watch as very proud father! She understands things about being solid many adults struggle with!

"I Love you with every single element of human anatomy that allows me to be here in the physical as your father, friend, partner and inspiration for everything driving me to be the ultimate best version of me."

Rasual Butler and Leah LaBelle. Credit: PA
Rasual Butler and Leah LaBelle. Credit: PA

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Butler began his NBA career when he was taken by the Miami Heat towards the end of the 2002 draft, and went on to play for a host of different teams including the New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs until his retirement in 2016.

He was included in the largest trade in NBA history when he was sent to the New Orleans Hornets (who have since moved to Charlotte) in a four-team deal involving Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies and which involved 13 players.

LaBelle had appeared on American Idol as a contestant during the 2004 season of Simon Cowell's television show. The Canadian-born R&B singer signed a production deal in 2011 with LA Reid, Jermaine Dupri and Pharrell Williams and released a five-song sampler.

Credit: Fox News
Credit: Fox News

As the news hit, the basketball community offered their condolences in droves. The LA Lakers' Chris Martin Palmer wrote on Twitter: "My heart is crushed upon hearing about the death of Rasual Butler. Had many great conversations with him. He died on a freeway two miles from my house at 2.30 AM while I was on Twitter talking about nothing."

Dwyane Wade, Butler's former Miami Heat teammate, tweeted: "Come on man. Damn. The world just lost a great dude", while NBA legend Kobe Bryant posted: "Rest In Peace my brother #RasualButler."

Just hours before the crash, Butler tweeted a message that read: "We are here to be Ourselves and No one else!"

Featured Image Credit: Fox News

Topics: US News

Mischa Pearlmen

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]