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Rasual Butler Crash Cops Retracing Steps to Find Clues

2/3/2018 12:25 AM PST

Cops have launched an investigation into the car crash that killed ex-NBA player Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle ... and they're retracing the couple's steps that night to find out exactly what went down.

We've learned investigators have visited several businesses near the crash site in Studio City, CA -- including a popular bowling alley where the couple was spotted earlier in the evening. 

We know what you're thinking -- was alcohol involved? We're told cops are not specifically looking for proof Butler was boozing before the crash ... they'll know from the toxicology report. 

The priority, we're told, is finding video of the couple in the car right before the crash -- in order to see what specifically caused the Range Rover to lose control and crash. 

Meanwhile, we're told the autopsies on both Rasual and Leah have been completed -- and the medical examiner has said the cause is "multiple traumatic injuries" and listed the manner of death as an "accident."

Rasual was 38. Leah was 31. 

The Temptations' Lead Singer Dennis Edwards Dead at 74

2/2/2018 12:11 PM PST
Breaking News

Dennis Edwards -- lead singer of the legendary group, The Temptations -- died at the Mercy Hospital in Chicago Thursday night ... TMZ has learned.

Edwards sang Grammy-winning songs for the Motown icons like "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" and "Cloud Nine" ... along with hits like "Ball of Confusion" and "I Can't Get Next to You."

Although Dennis was on-again, off-again with the group in the late '70s and '80s as the lineup changed frequently.... he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 with The Temptations.

Edwards -- a native of Detroit -- took over lead singer duties from David Ruffin in 1968 and continued The Temptations run of smash hits.

His 75th birthday would have been on Saturday. We're told the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Dennis was 74.


Rasual Butler NBA on TNT Planning Tribute ... Says Kenny Smith

2/1/2018 7:55 AM PST

Kenny Smith says he's still reeling from the "horrific situation" that claimed Rasual Butler's life ... and he's expecting the NBA to honor Rasual in a big way. 

"Overall, the NBA community will step up. We'll do something on TNT," Kenny said.

Condolences poured in Wednesday from ex-teammates and legends like Shaq, Kobe and Allen Iverson ... and the Miami Heat were the first team to put together a video tribute.

The Jet says fans should expect a lot more of that -- because "everybody loved him."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Butler, 38, lost control of his Range Rover in Studio City early Wednesday morning and slammed into a wall -- killing him and his wife, who was a passenger in the car. 

Stephen A. Smith 'Incredibly Sad' Over Rasual Butler

1/31/2018 3:23 PM PST

Stephen A. Smith says he's devastated over the death of his friend Rasual Butler -- telling TMZ Sports they knew each other for years ... and the NBA player was a really good dude. 

"Just incredibly sad," the ESPN star said ... "He's a good guy. We have Philly roots together. I've known him for many years. I love his wife. Love his family." 

"The world lost a good brother."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Butler lost control of his Range Rover in Studio City, CA early Wednesday morning and slammed into a wall -- killing him and his wife, who was a passenger in the car. 

Butler was 38.

Mark Salling Stash of Cash Available For Child Porn Victims

1/31/2018 12:44 PM PST

Mark Salling was far from broke before killing himself -- and that's good news for his child porn victims, who now have to sue to get the money he agreed to pay them.

According to docs obtained by TMZ ... Salling set up a corporation in 2009 -- right around the time "Glee" took off -- to collect his income from the entertainment biz. As of December 2017, the value of this business was reported to be $1.971 million. His father is listed as the manager.

We broke the story ... Salling's suicide essentially screwed over the victims in his child porn case because a judge didn't get to order him to pay them $50k each in restitution. Salling agreed to pay that amount as part of his guilty plea, but the judge hadn't signed off because sentencing was set for March.

The victims will have to file suit against Salling's estate, and based on the actor's financial docs ... there's dough to go around.

Ex-NBA Player Rasual Butler Killed in Car Crash

1/31/2018 9:55 AM PST

Ex-NBA player Rasual Butler and his wife -- a singer who appeared on "American Idol" -- were both killed in a single car crash in Studio City, CA early Wednesday morning, TMZ Sports has learned. 

38-year-old Butler -- who was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2002 -- lost control of his Range Rover around 2 AM, struck a parking meter and slammed into a wall. The car flipped. 

Officers believe the car was speeding before it lost control. 

Butler had a long NBA career after an impressive run at La Salle -- where he was a 2-time First Team All-Atlantic 10 Player. He's a member of the La Salle Hall of Athletics. 

He went on to play in the NBA until 2016 -- with stints on the Hornets, Clippers, Bulls, Raptors, Pacers, Wizards and Spurs. 

Rasual most recently played in Ice Cube's BIG3 league. 

Butler's wife Leah LaBelle, 31, was an R&B singer who was signed to Epic Records. She placed 12th on the 3rd Season of "American Idol" back in 2004. 

Rasual is survived by a daughter from a previous relationship, Raven Butler.


Rasual Butler NBA Stars Pay Tribute

1/31/2018 10:57 AM PST
Breaking News

Rasual Butler's death is hitting the NBA hard -- with his friends and former teammates sending their condolences to Butler's family. 

John Wall -- "I will always remember the time we shared together as teammates, you were the big brother. I appreciate the advice you shared, not just about basketball but life. Sending my deepest condolences to the families of Rasual and Leah. May you both rest in peace."

Blake Griffin -- "You were a great teammate and an even better person. Rest in peace my friend."

LaMarcus Aldridge -- "Devastated to hear the news about the passing of my former teammate, Rasual, & his wife. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families during this difficult time. Rasual was an amazing teammate and an even better person. He will truly be missed!"

Kyle Lowry -- "I remember I called you when you got drafted on draft night and I was at a camp and I wanted to show off because I knew you and you answered the phone for a 16 year old who was one of your biggest fans.. this is truly a sad day for me !! RIP Sual bop my oldhead!!"

Austin Rivers -- "It was a pleasure meeting you man. Getting to work with you last year was amazing. For you were not only a knowledgeable player....but more so a great man! Smh Crazy this just happened. May you and your wife RIP in heaven."

Kevin Love -- "Incredibly sad news to hear about Rasual Butler and his wife Leah. Prayers to both of their families through this tough time."

Ray Allen -- "I cannot believe this!!!!!!!!!My heart is heavy!!! We lost a good one today! RIP Rasual you were such a great talent on the court but an even better man off it! My thoughts are with the entire Butler family as they mourn the tragic loss of their son/brother and his beautiful wife, Leah. Gone too soon. Rest in power."

Reggie Miller -- "Saddened by the news and the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife Leah. Talk about a great dude and family man. I know he had many stops during his 13 year NBA journey, but he was beloved becasue of his work ethic in Indiana. New guardian Angels."

Paul Pierce -- "So sad this morning to here about my friend and teammate 😢 RIP Rasual Butler appreciate the people around u because u never know."

Chauncey Billups -- "I’m shocked, saddened and in disbelief about the news on my friend Rasual Butler and his wife Leah. May God be with their families. We will miss you 'Sul.'"

Allen Iverson -- "Rest easy my brother. See you when I get there!!!"

Shaq -- "Still can’t believe the news about my main man SOOL BOP. #riprasualbutler🏀#THELILHOMIEFROMPHILLY."

Kobe Bryant -- "Rest In Peace my brother #RasualButler."

Miami Heat -- "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."

L.A. Clippers -- "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."

Indiana Pacers -- "Our entire organization is deeply saddened after learning of the death of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. 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. We offer our sincerest condolences to he and his wife's family."

Mark Salling Attempted Suicide Several Times Before Hanging

1/31/2018 10:57 AM PST

Mark Salling tried to kill himself multiple times before he finally took his own life ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Sources involved in the investigation tell us their interviews with witnesses paint a dark picture of the actor, who was facing years in prison after pleading guilty to child porn charges.

There were "several suicide attempts," according to our sources.

TMZ broke the story .. Salling cut his wrists back in August. We got this pic 2 months after the attempt and he was wearing long sleeves in the middle of a heat wave ... presumably to hide the scars.

As we first reported, Salling hanged himself on a tree near his home.

Jane Lynch Mark Salling's Death ... Tragic and Heartbreaking

1/30/2018 1:26 PM PST

Jane Lynch is clearly struggling with Mark Salling's apparent suicide ... for several complicated reasons.

Jane was out in L.A. just a few hours after TMZ broke the story her former "Glee" co-star was found dead. Police believe he hanged himself. Jane said the news was "sad and very tragic."

As for how she'll remember Salling? Watch the video, and you can tell Jane was reaching for the right words -- especially in light of the fact Salling had entered a guilty plea to child pornography charges.

Ultimately, she took the high road and shared a story about his early days on the "Glee" set.

Tupac Accuser Ayanna Jackson Gives Disturbing Account of Rape Publicly For First Time

1/30/2018 11:45 AM PST

Ayanna Jackson -- the woman Tupac Shakur sexually assaulted -- spoke publicly for the first time since the trial about the incident that sent the rapper to prison.

Ayanna describes the disturbing sexual assault ... claiming Tupac told her he wanted to share her with his friends and persisted to force her into a group sex situation despite her repeatedly telling him no.

Jackson tells VladTV ... her pantyhose and dress were ripped off by members of Pac's entourage while she was on top of him, and insists she was raped by Tupac that night in his hotel room in 1993.

Tupac was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 1.5 to 4.5 years behind bars, but was released after 9 months. The rapper repeatedly said he was innocent of the charges.

Gene Simmons Wake Up, Rock Stars ... Cut the Drugs Now

1/30/2018 8:37 AM PST

Gene Simmons wants rockers to say no to drugs ... not just because it's killing the musicians, but mostly because of its impact on fans.

We got the KISS frontman Monday at LAX and asked him to elaborate on his upcoming memoir, "27," in which he details stories about famous rock stars who died at that age.

Gene, who says he's never boozed or done a drug, says his fellow rockers gotta remember there are kids out there following their every move ... and the drug use influences them.

On the heels of artists like Tom Petty and Lil Peep dying from overdoses, Gene wants everyone to adopt his sober approach to rock 'n' roll.

Roddy Piper Would Be 'Damn Proud' of Rousey ... Wrestler's Kids Say

1/29/2018 4:30 PM PST

Roddy Piper's kids were downright emotional when talking about how much Ronda Rousey means to their family ... and what a special moment it was to see her wearing the WWE legend's jacket. 

TMZ Sports spoke with Colt Toombs and Ariel Teal Toombs about the plan to let Ronda wear Roddy's trademark fashion accessory at the Royal Rumble ... and the backstory might make you cry. 

Of course, Roddy passed away in 2015 ... and both Colt and Ariel tell us Ronda personally vowed to them that she would do everything in her power to keep his legacy alive. 

FYI, Ronda has always said Piper was her inspiration ... and she had personally asked him for permission to use his nickname back in the day. He obliged. 

Now, Roddy's kids say she's doing a damn fine job keeping his spirit alive and they support her 100% moving forward. 

Get your Kleenex ready ... 

Joe McKnight's Family: Killer Deserves Life In Prison

1/29/2018 1:18 PM PST

The mother of Joe McKnight's 8-year-old son tells TMZ Sports ... the man who shot the ex-NFL running back is a cold-blooded killer and is begging the court to keep him locked up for LIFE. 

We spoke with Michelle Quick -- who dated Joe back in the day and stayed on close, good terms with him over the years as they co-parented their son, Jaiden

In fact, Michelle attended Ronald Gasser's trial every day and strongly believes he should have been convicted of 2nd degree murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter. 

Gasser is facing up to 40 years in prison for shooting and killing McKnight in Dec. 2016. The sentencing phase of the case is set for March 15. 

"He never needs to walk the streets ever again," Quick tells us ... "I think the proper sentence is life in prison. He never needs to be out in society."

Gasser is 56-years-old -- so the maximum 40-year sentence would essentially serve a life sentence. 

McKnight's son Jaiden -- with the permission of his mother -- told us he loves and misses his father tremendously and in our video he explains why his dad was the best ever. 

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