Th sudden death of R&B legend Teena Marie has generated shock and sadness among her fans and friends in the music industry, many of which took to Twitter to share memories and express condolences.
“Fly Away” rocker Lenny Kravitz paid touching tribute to the “Square Biz” songstress in an online video on Monday. Kravitz 46, opened up about his bond with the four-time Grammy nominee Marie, revealing the tale of how she took him in when as a teenager and inspired him to pursue his dream of becoming a force in the recording industry.
When he was a teenager/struggling musician, Teena gave Lenny a place to stay, instruments to practice his craft, and took him to recording sessions and concerts. The Grammy winner believes that if it wasn’t for his dear friend, he wouldn’t be who he is today.
“I woke up to the tragic news that my longtime friend Teena Marie passed away,” a somber Lenny said in the YouTube video tribute.
“I just want to say that Teena Marie was a treasure. A genius. Composer, arranger, singer, musician. Unique… underrated by far. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Teena. She took me in when I was around 16… I was just a musician on the street, I was living from pillar to post. She took me in, she gave me a bedroom, she fed me, she cooked for me, she took care of me. She gave me instruments to play, she took me to all her recording sessions,” he continued.
“She took me to concerts. She nurtured me and helped me to become who I am. I would not be here (without her). She changed my life not only as an artist but as a person who truly loved me for who I was. Teena… I will always love and respect you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you Father, for the life of Teena Marie.”
Marie — born Christina Brockett — was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment on Sunday. The cause of her sudden death was not immediately known, but reports indicate she suffered a violent grand mal seizure, in which two of her ribs were broke, less than a month ago.
“We’re told the L.A. County Coroner’s Office found the anti-seizure drug diazepam at Teena’s home, but friends say she had stopped taking the medicine because of side effects and began taking herbal remedies instead,” TMZ reported this morning.
Friends tell the website that Teena was so scared of having another seizure she would have someone sleep next to her at night. A pal slept in Teena’s room with he on Saturday and left in the morning. The singer spoke 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. When Teena’s daughter checked in with her at around 1 PM, she was fine. But when the teen returned just two hours later, she found her famous mom unresponsive.
Throughout Marie’s career, she released a total of 13 studio albums after gaining musical fame in the late 1970s. She is probably best known for her 1984 hit “Lovergirl” and “Fire & Desire,” her musical collaboration with mentor Rick James. He other hits include “Portuguese Love,” “Ooo La La La,” and “I’m a Sucker for Your Love,” which was Marie’s first Top 10-scoring single.