Ex-NBA Player Butler Killed in Calif. Crash - NBC4 Washington
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Ex-NBA Player Butler Killed in Calif. Crash

The Miami Heat tweeted that the passenger killed in the crash was Butler's wife, Leah LaBelle.

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    Rasual Butler of the Los Angeles Clippersin a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on October 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

    Ex-NBA player Rasual Butler, who played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, and a woman in his car were killed in an early morning Studio City crash, the LA County Coroner confirmed Wednesday.

    He was 38. The female victim was identified in a statement from the Clippers as his wife, Leah LaBelle.

    The car crashed into a shopping plaza in Studio City, according to the Los Angeles Police Department North Hollywood division.

    Police received a call at about 2:30 a.m. of a car into a building on the 11000 block of Ventura Boulevard. The vehicle was traveling at speeds two to three times higher than the limit, according to police.

    The vehicle struck a curb and tumbled over until it crash-landed in the plaza. The crash prompted a closure on Ventura Boulevard from Vineland Avenue through Tujunga Avenue, which was reopened by 6 a.m.

    Officials are investigating the cause of the crash.

    The Clippers released a statement expressing the organization's grief over the death of a former teammate.

    "The L.A. Clippers are deeply saddened by the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle," the statement 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, a Philadelphia native who played at LaSalle University, previously played for the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls, among other teams. 

    The coroner would not confirm the identity of his passenger until next of kin could be notified. 

    The Miami Heat posted a tweet Wednesday indicating Butler's wife, Leah LaBelle, who once appeared on"American Idol," was the passenger killed in the crash.

    "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 team wrote.

    NBC4 had not independently verified with authorities that LaBelle was the second victim in the crash.

    Katherine Picazo and Marin Austin contributed to this report.