Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes Dies – Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, April 25, in hip-hop history...
2002: The life of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes came to a tragically abrupt end.
At the time of her death, which was the result of a horrific car crash in Honduras, Lopes was a four-time Grammy winner and internationally recognized superstar at the age of just 30. While she was successful, she, like many others occupying that sizable spotlight, was going through personal and professional issues.
By 1999, Lopes had grown to feel that she was being marginalized in TLC, and found herself feuding with her groupmates, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas. Years beforehand, in 1994, she burned her then-boyfriend Andre Rison's house to the ground and was eventually sentenced to five years probation and a stint in rehab to deal with her alcoholism. Perhaps it was these problems that led her to Central America.
Taking what she called a spiritual retreat, Lisa ventured to La Ceiba, Honduras in March of 2002. Portions of her trip were filmed documentary style, and later used in the 2007 VH1 documentary, The Last Days of Left Eye. Eerily, it was reported that Lopes had actually been involved in with fatal car accident in Honduras weeks before her own death.
On April 6, 2002, Lopes' personal assistant was driving down a Honduran road when a young boy unexpectedly stepped into the street. The car hit the boy, and although Lopes and company rushed him to the hospital, he eventually died. Lopes paid $3,700 for the child's medical care and funeral costs before giving the family an additional $925. The incident was not reported to the police.
Weeks later, on April 25, 2002, Lopes was driving a rented Mitsubishi Challenger when she spotted a truck and abruptly steered the vehicle out of the way to avoid a collision. From there, she and three other passengers were in the car when it rolled into the grass. All three were thrown out of the car by the impact. Lopes was killed instantly after suffering severe neck injuries and head trauma. Lopes was the only person killed in the accident. Raina Lopes, her sister, in the front passenger seat, was videotaping at the time, leaving the last seconds of Lopes' life captured on video.
Throughout her career, Lisa acquired an abundance of awards and undoubtedly holds a spot in music history as a part of one of the most commercially successful R&B girl groups in recent memory.
R.I.P Left Eye.