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Irish Grinstead, singer of R&B girl group 702, dies at 43

Irish Grinstead, singer of R&B girl group 702, dies at 43

Irish Grinstead, a member of the R&B girl group 702 and singer on their hit single "Where My Girls At?," has died. She was 43.

Grinstead's sister and fellow 702 singer Lemisha Grinstead announced the news in an Instagram post alongside a photo of Irish on Saturday.

"It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that my beautiful sister and friend has passed away this evening," she wrote. "She has had a long battle and she is finally at peace."

The post continued, "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."

While Grinstead's cause of death was not disclosed, the group announced in December 2022 that Irish would be taking time away from performing due to "serious medical issues." The singer's death comes 15 years after that of her twin sister, Orish Grinstead, who was part of the group's original lineup before passing away at 27 from kidney failure in 2008.

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20: Irish Grinstead of 702 performs onstage at 2018 Funk Fest Tour at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on May 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20: Irish Grinstead of 702 performs onstage at 2018 Funk Fest Tour at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on May 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Paras Griffin/Getty Irish Grinstead of 702

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The Las Vegas–raised Grinstead sisters, who named their girl group after their hometown area code, originally completed their musical group with the addition of Kameelah Williams. Together, they rose to fame in the late '90s following the release of their debut album, No Doubt, in 1996. They garnered attention and critical praise with their first release, which featured early songwriting credits from Missy Elliott, but it was their self-titled sophomore album that truly marked their arrival.

702 featured the trio's best-known track, the 1999 single "Where My Girls At?," which was produced and co-written by Elliott and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group would release one more album, Star, and appear on the Pootie Tang and Good Burger soundtracks before they disbanded in the mid-2000s. Other members of the ensemble throughout the years included Amelia Cruz, Cree Le'More, and Tiffany Villarreal.

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20: Singers Kameelah Williams, Irish Grinstead, and LaMisha Grinstead of 702 attend 2018 Funk Fest Tour at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on May 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20: Singers Kameelah Williams, Irish Grinstead, and LaMisha Grinstead of 702 attend 2018 Funk Fest Tour at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on May 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Paras Griffin/Getty Kameelah Williams, Irish Grinstead, and LaMisha Grinstead of 702

The Grinstead sisters and Williams regrouped in 2017, performed at that year's Soul Train Music Awards, and signed on for the reality show BET Presents: The Encore. Irish stepped away from the group in 2022 for a medical leave.

Elliott was among those who paid tribute to Grinstead on social media, writing, "Irish, may your beautiful soul rest peacefully in the arms of the Lord. A multitude of prayers for the entire Grinstead family."

Williams also shared a photo of Irish and remembered both Grinstead sisters in an Instagram tribute. "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. 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 'cuz I know how much you missed her."

She added, "You and 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' and I still love you, my forever lil sis!!! Rest easy, Irish."

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