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US basketball player and American Idol star die in horrific car accident

Kelly Rowland is among those to pay tribute follow the couple's tragic death

Emmy Griffiths

Former American Idol contestant Leah LaBelle and her husband, former NBA player Rasual Butler, have died following a horrific car crash. The pair were travelling in the early hours of Wednesday morning when Rasual lost control of the car and collided with the curb. Both Leah and Rasual were pronounced dead at the scene. Rasual was best known for his 14-year career with the NBA, during which he played for teams including Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls.

The couple were tragically killed in a car crash

The NBA released a statement which read: "The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. A pro's pro, Rasual enjoyed a long, successful career and was widely respected by his peers and coaches. We grieve with their loved ones during this difficult time." L.A. Clippers added: "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." He is survived by a daughter from a former relationship.

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Leah appeared on American Idol back in 2004, finishing in 12th place, and was later signed to Epic Records. A source told E! News: "Everyone is devastated. It's such a sad day for her friends, family and all her fans that loved her. She was so talented and was pushing hard on her music career." Kelly Rowland was among those to pay tribute to the singer, tweeting: "Rest peacefully sweetest one. #LeahLaBelle." Fantasia Barrino, who won American Idol season three, wrote: "This just doesn't seem right even saying right now but rest in peace baby girl. @leahlabelle I will never forget you. Idol Family Forever @AmericanIdol."

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