R.I.P. Teena Marie…

By: Clay Cane

It is with great sadness to report that it has been confirmed that soul legend, Teena Marie, passed away at 54 years-old.  At this time, the cause of death is not known.

Lady T, as she was known, was born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California. In 1976 she signed with the legendary Motown Records and her debut album, Wild and Peaceful, was released in 1979, which garnered the hits “I’m a Sucker For Your Love” and “Déjà Vu (I’ve Been Here Before).”

It was Marie’s collaboration with Rick James that catapulted her to super stardom. Most notably, the duet “Fire & Desire,” which Marie performed for the last time with Rick James at the 2004 BET Awards.

Teena Marie had the unique experience of being one of few White artists to be so strongly embraced by the African-American community.  She was a fixture in the early days of BET and always had consistent airplay on R&B radio.

On a personal note, I interviewed  Teena Marie twice.  She was just as I thought she would be — kind and down to earth. Back in May 2009 we talked about her latest album Congo Square and I asked “When you get to heaven, what is the DJ playing?” — she responded with:

I’m sure it’s Aretha Franklin. I’m sure it’s something off the Amazing Grace album. Probably, Aretha Franklin “Wholy Holy.” I hope when Rick James went to heaven they played Aretha Franklin “Wholy Holy” too. He loved her as much as I did. I have a lot of beautiful moments riding around with him in his Rolls, me and him just playing Aretha all day.

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Also, in memory of her death my best friend Kwestro dedicated a beat to her:

Teena Marie – My Dear Mr. Gaye (Kwestro Rmx)

(((UPDATE – 12-27-10 )))

via TMZ

Teena Marie’s death could have been caused by a grand mal seizure while taking a nap … sources tell TMZ.

As we previously reported, Tina suffered a grand mal seizure a month before her death. Close family friends tell us Tina has suffered other seizures, but the grand mal shook her up badly. We’re told she had broken two ribs after falling during that seizure.

We’re told the L.A. County Coroner’s Office found diazepam — an antiseizure drug — at Teena’s home, but friends say she had stopped taking the medicine because of side effects and began taking herbal remedies instead.

Friends also tell TMZ … Teena was so scared of having another grand mal seizure she would have someone sleep next to her at night.

Friends say on Saturday night someone slept in the same room with Teena and left in the morning.  Teena was talking with her bodyguard at around 11:30 AM. She went back to bed in the early afternoon — no one was with her when she slept. Teena’s daughter checked in with her at around 1 PM and Teena was fine.

But at around 3 PM, Teena’s daughter checked in with her again, and found her unresponsive.

The Coroner has said signs point to death from natural causes.  But “natural causes” could be death from a seizure.