A statement released by Butler’s former team the LA Clippers confirmed that he and his wife Leah LaBelle, a singer who competed on season three of “American Idol,” were both killed in the accident.
Officials are still investigating the tragedy. According to NBC4, police received a call describing an accident at about 2:30 a.m. Butler’s vehicle hit a curb and tumbled before crashing in a plaza.
Butler finished his basketball career during the 2015-2016 season with the San Antonio Spurs. During his 14-year stint in the NBA, Butler played for multiple teams, including the Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers. He played college basketball at La Salle University.
LaBelle reached the Top 12 on “American Idol” in 2004. She was later signed to Epic Records in 2011 and released two singles on the Sony Music label, “Sexify” and “Lolita,” in 2012 and 2013. “Idol” season three winner Fantasia Barrino wrote on Twitter, “I will never forget you,” after news of the couple’s death.
Members from Butler’s NBA family shared their condolences on social media. The official Twitter account for the Miami Heat posted, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of Rasual and Leah. They will be missed.”
The Clippers and Pacers also mourned his loss.
Dwyane Wade, who formerly played for the Miami Heat, tweeted, “Come on man. Damn. The world just lost a great dude. RIP Rasual ‘Bop’ Butler!”
Other former teammates also expressed their sympathies.