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Ex-NBA player Rasual Butler dies in car crash

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Ex-NBA player Rasual Butler dies in car crash
Gabe GinsbergAFP

Former NBA player Rasual Butler and a passenger riding with him were killed in a pre-dawn single vehicle crash in Los Angeles on Wednesday, authorities said.

Butler, 38, died at the scene after the roll-over accident reported at 2:30 a.m. in the suburb of Studio City, coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter said.

Police did not immediately confirm the identity of the fatally injured woman travelling with him, saying they had yet to notify next of kin.

But the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat both issued condolence statements naming her as his wife, Leah LaBelle, a Canadian-born singer who was a contestant on the reality television show 'American Idol' in 2004.

According to Los Angeles police, Butler lost control of his Range Rover, which struck a parking meter, slammed into a wall and rolled over.

'The LA Clippers are deeply saddened by the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle,' the team said.

'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.'

Butler was drafted by the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2002 NBA draft.

He went on to play for the Heat, Hornets, Clippers, Bulls, Raptors, Pacers, Wizards and Spurs from 2002 to 2016.

The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat also issued statements mourning Butler.

'Our entire organization is deeply saddened after learning of the death of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle,' the Pacers said. ' In his one season with us, Rasual was the consummate team player and a great role model for our younger players on how a professional should prepare and act, while being a positive influence on everyone who associated with him.'


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