A grand mal seizure may have caused R&B singer Teena Marie’s untimely death at the age of 54.
The singer was found dead in her Pasadena home the day after Christmas. Marie was taking an afternoon nap in her bedroom where her daughter checked her twice while she was asleep. On the second time she was checked at 3 p.m., Marie was already unresponsive.
Pasadena, California police said the singer died of “natural causes” according to a TMZ report. The singer’s publicist, Lynn Jeter, said in her statement that Marie might have suffered a grand mal seizure. It was reported that the R&B artist endured the same type of seizure a month ago, but was immediately taken to the hospital, enduring another seizure while inside the ambulance.
A grand mal seizure, according to Mayo Clinic, is caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain which features loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. Most of the time, this kind is caused by epilepsy while in some cases; the seizure is triggered by extremely low blood sugar or a stroke.
The seizure was said to have caused Marie two broken ribs from a fall; injuries are common for people who suffered from a seizure this massive. Marie’s daughter, Alia Rose, called 911 when she found her mom unresponsive. Despite a very emotional disposition, Alia Rose made the report herself and told the operator that her mother “lost her color…her color is gone”.
An autopsy and toxicology will be performed later this week. By then, questions about Marie’s death will be answered fully, though even now, illegal drug intake has been ruled out as a reason for the songstress’ passing, as law enforcement officials found no traces of such drugs. Marie struggled in fighting addiction to prescription pain medication before, according to the Associated Press. She became addicted to Vicodin when her ex-lover and mentor Rick James passed away in 2004.
Later on, she dismissed taking such medication and had shifted to using herbal medicines. When her body was found, herbal medicines were recovered from her room (not marijuana, according to police).
“Lovergirl” by Teena Marie
Born Mary Christine Brockert, Teena Marie was also known by the nickname Lady T and was dubbed “The Ivory Queen of Soul”. She signed with Motown Records in 1976. The multi-instrumentalist was regarded as “one of the strongest voices in R&B and soul music”. Her hits include Lovergirl, Ooo La La La, and Square Biz. Marie was able to release 13 albums throughout her career, two of which went platinum, and the rest of which went gold. Her 1984 single “Lovergirl” was Marie’s biggest hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Marie was supposed to head to Atlanta to perform a New Year’s show; Jeter shared Marie’s excitement about her scheduled performance, as it was the singer’s first after the seizure she experienced last month.
The late R&B star received four Grammy nominations. Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, described Teena Marie as “a black voice trapped in a white body” for the soulful artistry the late singer possessed. She had worked with big names in the music industry in her three-decade career and was regarded by Hughes as “one of the greatest vocalists of our time”.