Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the effervescent, sometimes volatile rapping member of the Grammy-winning R&B trio TLC, was killed last night (April 25) in a car crash in Honduras, her record company said.
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the effervescent, sometimes volatile rapping member of the Grammy-winning R&B trio TLC, was killed last night (April 25) in a car crash in Honduras, her record company said. Lopes, who would have turned 31 next month, was in the Central American nation for a vacation, according to an Arista Records spokesperson.
Lopes was reportedly among seven people in the car and the only fatality. The location of the car crash was not immediately determined. It was unclear whether she was wearing a seatbelt.
"No words can possibly express the sorrow and sadness I feel for this most devastating loss," said Arista president L.A. Reid, who helped shape the career of the Atlanta-based R&B group, one of the best-selling female groups in history. "Lisa was not only a gifted and talented musical inspiration, but more importantly, she was like a daughter to me. My thoughts and prayers are with Lisa's family and friends. Her legacy will be remembered forever."
TLC -- which also includes Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas -- was the group behind such Hot 100 No. 1 hits as "No Scrubs," "Waterfalls," and "Unpretty." The act's latest album was 1999's LaFace/Arista set "FanMail," which debuted on top of The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
"We had all grown up together and were as close as a family," the surviving bandmates said in a statement. "Today we have truly lost our sister."
The group made its debut in 1992 with the disc "Ooooooh ... On the TLC Tip!" The unique sound, which paired Watkins and Thomas' vocals with Philadelphia-born Lopes' fast-paced, squeaky-voiced rhymes, made the trio an immediate sensation, along with their baggy, condom-attached wardrobe.
Lopes' nickname, "Left Eye," came from her habit of replacing one lens of her glasses with a condom during performances.
In 1994, the group returned with "CrazySexyCool" -- Lopes was dubbed the "crazy" member of the act, Thomas the "sexy" one, and Watkins the "cool" one. The top-selling album saw the women abandon their sometimes gimmicky image to evolve into a critically acclaimed group. The disc included the Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Creep" and won them the first two of their four Grammy Awards.
TLC also soon became know for its flashy, hyper videos and picked up a clutch of MTV Video awards. Lopes even served as a host for MTV's daily show, "The Cut."
But with success came enough turmoil to fill a VH1 "Behind the Music" special. The trio declared bankruptcy a few years ago, citing poorly structured recording contracts.
In 1994, Lopes pleaded guilty to arson in a fire that destroyed the mansion of former Atlanta Falcons receiver Andre Rison, her boyfriend. Lopes was sentenced to a halfway house and five years probation, plus a $10,000 fine.
Lopes admitted she started the fire after an argument with Rison. The mansion was valued at more than $1 million. The two later broke up, only to reunite and break up again. However, last year they announced plans to marry.
Watkins was hospitalized several times, suffering from sickle cell anemia and infighting among group members also was reported. In 2000, after the release of "Fanmail," Lopes publicly challenged Watkins and Thomas to put out solo albums, and let fans determine who was the most popular group member.
But in an interview with AP later that year, Watkins dismissed talk of a serious rift. "With three women, you agree to disagree. I'm not always going to agree with Lisa and she's not always going to agree with me, that's fine," she said.
While the members of TLC were enjoying a hiatus as of late, the group had recently been in the studio working on a new album for release this year. Last year Lopes released her own album, "Supernova," internationally through Arista, but poor radio support caused the project to be shelved in the U.S.
Within in past few months, Lopes reportedly signed a solo deal with Suge Knight's Death Row label to put out a solo project under the pseudonym, "N.I.N.A." (New Identity Not Applicable). She also helped start the group Blaque, an R&B trio that scored the No. 4 Hot 100 hit "Bring It Home To Me."
An Arista spokesperson said that Lopes went frequently to Honduras to vacation. "She just found it really peaceful and tranquil, and it was a very special place for her," the spokesperson said, who noted that Lopes' manager has flown to Honduras to bring her body back to the U.S.
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