US girl group 702 is reeling from the death of bandmate Irish Grinstead, who reportedly passed away after a “long battle” with an unspecified illness.
Grinstead’s older sister and bandmate LeMisha Grinstead confirmed the sad news on Instagram.
“It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that my beautiful sister and friend has passed away this evening,” LeMisha told her followers.
“She has had a long battle and she is finally at peace. That girl was as bright as the stars! She was not only beautiful on the outside, but also within.
“Sharing the stage with her was a joy I will cherish for the rest of my life.
“We, the family, ask for prayers and respect for our privacy as we grieve an outstanding loss to our family. Love always, Misha.”
Her message was reposted on 702’s Instagram page.
Fellow bandmate Meelah Williams shared her devastation on Instagram, citing the death of Irish’s twin and original band member Orish Grinstead in 2008.
“I struggled with this post because to me this isn’t real,” she wrote.
“There’s a lot I want to say, but there’s no way to say what your heart hasn’t fully accepted,” she shared.
“It’s hard to acknowledge this is even happening,” Williams added. “I know you’re feeling better now and hugging your twin Orish which makes me smile cus I know how much you missed her.
“You & I have known each other since we were kids and we’ve laughed, cried, celebrated and everything in between which is why I just don’t want to believe this. You’ll always be my ‘IBG’ & I still love you my forever lil sis!!!”
Orish reportedly died of kidney failure.
Fans and fellow performers paid tribute to the late singer on social media.
Missy Elliott commented on X/Twitter: “Irish May your beautiful soul Rest Peacefully in the arms of the Lord.”
In December 2022 the band announced Irish, 43, would be taking a “medical leave of absence” due to “serious medical issues”.
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“We regret to inform you that at this time Irish Grinstead will be taking a medical leave of absence due to serious medical issues,” their statement read.
“It is our hope that she will have a healthy and speedy recovery in the months to come.
‘We ask that at this very difficult time that you please respect our privacy and continue to pray for us as Meelah and Misha continue to navigate and represent 702 for upcoming performances in 2023. Thank you,702.”
Remaining members Meelah and Misha would perform as a duo for the remainder of 2022 and all of 2023.
702 are best known for their hit singles ‘Where My Girls At’ and ‘Get It Together.’
702, named after he area code of their home town of Las Vegas, Nevada, formed in 1993. Their 1996 release ‘No Doubt’ went straight to number one in the US.
Irish, Orish and LeMisha Grinstead began by singing in the lobby of Caesar’s palace when they were reportedly discovered by actor and comedian Sinbad who visited their hometown and met their parents.
They were later joined by Meelah Williams.
Remaining members Le Misha Grinstead and Meelah Williams are expected to continue performing as a duo.