Member of TLC trio dies in wreck

Saturday, April 27, 2002

ATLANTA -- Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the effervescent, sometimes volatile member of the top-selling, Grammy-winning trio TLC, was killed in a car crash while visiting Honduras, officials said.

Lopes, who would have turned 31 next month, was traveling in the Central America nation when the accident happened Thursday night, spokesman Jay Marose said Friday. He said she had a condo there and visited frequently.

"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 TLC's career.

The crash happened near Jutiapa, 150 miles north of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. "The car rolled for reasons that we still don't know, and that are being investigated," police spokes-man Luis Aguilar said. Several other people in the car were taken to a hospital.

TLC, which also includes Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, had such hits as "Waterfalls," "No Scrubs" and "Unpretty." Their latest album was "FanMail."

The Atlanta-based R&B group is the best-selling female group in history in terms of album sales, having sold 21 million. The Supremes are the top all-female group in terms of No. 1 hits, garnering 12 compared with TLC's four.

"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."

Their songs delivered a message of female empowerment, using sassy, tongue-in-cheek rhymes. The lyrics to "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "Waterfalls," and "No Scrubs" were straight from the streets yet poignantly addressed safe sex, AIDS, black on black crime and self-respect.

Lopes' nickname came from her habit of replacing one lens of her glasses with a condom during performances.

The band also soon became know for its flashy, hyper videos and picked up a clutch of MTV Video awards. Lopes even was a host for MTV's daily show, "The Cut."

TLC had been on hiatus, but had recently been in the studio working on a new record due to have been released this year.

Lopes' manager flew to Honduras to bring her body home, her record label said.

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