UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that an autopsy on R&B singer Teena Marie revealed no trauma, but it likely will be weeks before toxicology reports return that could shed light on Marie's cause of death.
Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said her body showed no signs of trauma and no illegal drugs were found in the Pasadena home where she died.
The L.A. County Coroner's Office found diazepam, more commonly known as Valium, which can be used to treat seizures at Marie's home, but friends say she had stopped taking the medicine because of side effects and had resorted to herbal remedies instead.
TMZ reports that Marie was afraid of sleeping by herself because of the seizures and needed to have another person lie next to her. When her body was discovered, she had gone to her room to take an early-afternoon nap by herself. Alia checked on Marie at around 1 p.m. and she seemed fine. But when the young woman checked on her mom again two hours later, she found her unresponsive.
Nicknamed "Lady T" and "the vanilla child," Marie grew up in the predominantly black area of Oakwood on the west side of Los Angeles. Marie began singing at the tender age of 2 and grooved off Motown tunes. It was said that Marie's soulful voice was a God-given gift that she fine-tuned as she perfected her craft.
Marie, whose real name was Mary Christine Brockert, started her career as an actress and even had a stint on the famed TV comedy 'The Beverly Hillbillies." With singing as a constant baseline, she even sang at the wedding of rock and roll great Jerry Lee Lewis at age of 10.
In 1976, Marie got her long-awaited career break, when she was introduced to legendary Detroit producer Hal Davis, who got her an audition with Motown head honcho Barry Gordy. Marie recorded numerous unreleased songs with various producers, but she happened to catch the ear of Rick James, who would go on to be her mentor. Marie became the first white act signed to the Motor City hit-making label.
Marie's debut album, 'Wild and Peaceful,' was her first top 10 R&B hit, which included a duet with James called 'I'm a Sucker for Your Love.' Marie's image did not appear on the album cover or anywhere else on the packaging, so folks assumed that she was black. Record execs erroneously thought that black consumers would not want to buy music that was recorded by a white artist. They continued to keep Marie in hiding, so to speak, until she appeared with James on the TV hit dance show 'Soul Train' in 1979.
Black audiences came to love and accept Marie and revere her vocal pipes. She went on to record such mega Motown hits as 'I Need Your Lovin,' 'Behind the Groove,' 'Ooh La La La' and 'Square Biz.'
James and Marie continued to work together throughout her Motown years. In 1980, the duo produced the killer slow jam of all time, 'Fire and Desire.' The collaboration gave rise to unconfirmed rumors that the two singers were romantically involved. The duo's last appearance together was on the 2004 'BET Awards' show, and later that year James died suddenly of pulmonary and cardiac failure.
Following differences with Motown, Teena moved to Epic Records in 1983. She later sued Motown for restricting her artistic control, resulting in the passing of the Brockert Initiative, or the Teena Marie Law giving artists greater control over their careers.
The year 1994 marked the end of Marie's recording career. She made the decision to devote time to her daughter. Ten years later, in 2004, Teena launched her comeback album 'La Dona,' which went gold, proving Marie was still a musical force to be reckoned with. 'Still in Love' from the album earned Marie a Grammy Award nomination for best R&B vocal performance in 2005.
In 2009, Marie released what would be her final album, 'Congo Square,' on Stax/Concord Records. The artist described the album as "personal and spiritual" and indicated that it was more jazz-influenced than most of her previous work. 'Can't Last a Day,' a duet with Faith Evans, leaked to the Internet in March 2009. The album reached the top 20 on Billboard's Top 200.
Over the last few years, Marie worked the Las Vegas strip as a headliner and made several club and concert appearances. In an interview with the Associated Press last year, Marie admitted to successfully overcoming a battle with prescription drugs.
Lady T, your silky, soulful vocals will certainly be missed. Rest in peace.