After being discovered dead in her Pasadena home on the day after Christmas, R&B diva Teena Marie is being blamed for a possible grand mal seizure. According to Dr. Jacqueline French of NYU Medical Center and the American Academy of Neurology, SUDEP is often associated with these most violent seizures and likely comes from issues with breathing or heart rhythm.
It’s not frequent among people who have seizures, and experts aren’t yet sure of the exact mechanism by which it causes mortality.
Teena Marie Cause Of Death: What Killed Her?
Manager Mike Gardner reported that Marie was discovered by her daughter and had evidently passed away while sleeping.
“Teena was a black voice trapped in a white body,” said Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, a broadcasting company that targets African-American and urban listeners. “I would always tell her that she was one of the greatest vocalists of our time.”
She sang a mixture of love songs, like “Lovergirl,” “Portuguese Love,” “Ooh La La La,” and “I’m a Sucker for Your Love.“
There has been no official announcement about Marie’s cause of death. Yet, the Mayo Clinic states that a grand mal episode is a neurological event characterized by loss of consciousness and severe muscle contractions.
No cause of death has been provided in the death of Teena Marie. Her manager, Mike Gardner, said her body is at the coroner’s office
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) December 27, 2010
“Luckily, someone was there,” Jeter said of that seizure. “The ambulance took her to the hospital, and on the way, she had another seizure.”
The publicist had a “great” conversation with Marie on Saturday, during which Marie expressed her enthusiasm about performing in Atlanta this week. This was to have been Marie’s first show since the seizure.
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Since she first became famous as a 19-year-old, Marie has recorded for a number of different record labels. Congo Square, her most recent studio album, was a group effort.
“I am horrified by the sudden death of my darling Teena Marie,” Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement sent by his publicist. “She was my ‘baby,’ always true to herself, always true to her heart.”
Berry praised her as a “powerhouse performer, writer, producer, and arranger.”
“When I first auditioned her, she was so awesome she blew me away,” Gordy said. “She had so much soul — the only thing white about her was her skin.”
“The enduring influence of Teena’s inspirational, trailblazing career could only have been made possible through her brilliant song-writing, showmanship, and high energy passion, which laid the groundwork for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul,” said Gene Rumsey, chief label officer with Concord Music Group. “We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways.”
Craig Seymour, Black Gay Music Critic, Twitter on Teena Marie:
One thing about when an artist becomes mega-successful is that there are so many origin stories I don’t know what to believe. I’d have to go back through the trades of the time. In my memory, Teena Marie, who I was obsessed with, wasn’t so super-successful that label people were… https://t.co/bDiO23y6HO pic.twitter.com/JkjSuzoydd
— Craig Seymour, Black Gay Music Critic (@craigspoplife) September 6, 2023
Eddie Levert, manager of the R&B group The O’Jays, lauded Marie for her skills as a performer and a parent.
“There are a lot of black people who swore by her and believed in her, as far as her music was concerned,” he said. “She was a good mom, and to me, that is saying a lot.”