See The First Audition of the American Idol Contestant Who Died in Tragic Crash

February 01, 2018Feb 01, 2018

Early Wednesday, singer Leah LaBelle, best known for her stint on American Idol, and her husband, former NBA player Rasual Butler, died in a car crash.

At the time of the crash, Butler was driving a Land Rover down Ventura Boulevard in the Studio City section when he lost control of the vehicle. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, he hit a curb going two to three times the speed limit.

"The SUV flipped twice and came to rest in a shopping center parking lot at approximately 2:25 a.m.," reported NBC News.

Butler, 38, played for a number of teams during 13 seasons in the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers. He finished his professional career with the San Antonio Spurs with 46 games in the 2015-16 season.

LaBelle, 31, had a career as an R&B singer. She started on American Idol Season 3 in 2003 at the age of only 16.

Leah LaBelle Vladowski, known on Idol and professionally as Leah LaBelle, finished 12th on Season 3 of the singing competition. At the time, it was among the most popular shows on TV.

LaBelle, who was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and raised in Seattle, was the only child of Bulgarian immigrants. Her parents, Troshan and Anastasia Vladowski, were members of famous rock/pop band in Communist Bulgaria.

According to her American Idol videos, they left Bulgaria on a touring visa, but they never left North America after the visa ended. They wanted to start their family outside of a Communist country to give her the best chance at life.

LaBelle, whose uncle is a Bulgarian rock star, started out singing in a local choir before appearing on Idol at age 16. Here is her audition:

During her time on American Idol, she described music as the "American dream" to her. She clearly had a passion for her country and music.

Singer Keri Hilson saw a video on LaBelle’s YouTube page in 2009. She had LaBelle join her as a backup singer. She then was spotted by Jermaine Dupri and Pharrell Williams, who eventually signed the Idol alum to a record deal.

Singer JoJo took to Twitter to mourn LaBelle, who she called her "sister from another mister." She especially highlighted LaBelle's "unwavering faith in God."

"Leah. beautiful sister from another mister. You will NEVER EVER be forgotten. Your voice. Your spirit. Your light. Cannot comprehend what this loss means. Thinking about your unwavering faith in God brings me peace. I love you, forever angel," wrote JoJo.

Others also mourned her loss, including singers Kelly Rowland and Keri Wilson; actress Nia Long; and fellow Idol alum Fantasia.

Please pray for everyone impacted by their deaths. In other news, there have been shocking developments in the four-decade-old Natalie Wood case. 



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