Irish Grinstead, the artist who gained fame in the 1990s as a member of the group known as 702, has died at age 43. Lemisha Grinstead, Irish’s sister and fellow 702 member, announced the news on Instagram, saying her “beautiful sister and friend has passed away this evening.”
“She has had a long battle and she is finally at peace,” the heartbroken sister wrote. “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.”
The cause of death hasn’t been announced. However, the group said in December that Irish is taking a “medical leave of absence due to serious medical issues.”
702 included the Grinstead sisters and another star singer, Kameelah Williams. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the group is named after the the area code for Las Vegas, the artists’ hometown.
702 released its debut album, No Doubt, in 1996. “Steelo,” one of the tracks featured on the album, became the theme song for the Nickelodeon series Cousin Skeeter.
The group continued to produce hits after artist Cree La’More replaced Williams. With La’More on the team, 702 released “Pootie Tangin,” a single inspired by the Chris Rock film Pootie Tang. When Williams returned to the group, they released another album, Star.
702 split up in 2006 and reunited 11 years later. The group earned several accolades through the years, including multiple nominations for Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, as well as recognitions for an American Music Award and a BET Award.
MIssy Elliott, who made a guest appearance on “Steelo” and co-wrote “Where My Girls At?” with the group, expressed her condolences after hearing about the death of Irish, RollingStone reported.
“Irish May your beautiful soul Rest Peacefully in the arms of the Lord,” Missy Elliott tweeted on Sunday. “A Multitude of prayers for the entire Grinstead family.”
Irish May your beautiful soul Rest Peacefully in the arms of the Lord🕊️ A Multitude of prayers for the entire Grinstead family🙏🏾🕊️💔#702 pic.twitter.com/Vfqbwfzxqj
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) September 17, 2023
Williams also expressed her sadness on Instagram.
“Devastated & heartbroken. I struggled with this post because to me this isn’t real. There’s a lot I want to say, but there’s no way to say what your heart hasn’t fully accepted,” she wrote. “It’s hard to acknowledge this is even happening. 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.”