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'Lovergirl' Teena Marie Dead At 54
Teena Marie, the funkified 70s and 80s "Ivory Queen of Soul," has died at age 54. She was found unconscious in her Pasadena home about 3 p.m. on Sunday by her daughter.
Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica in 1956, Lady Tee began singing professionally before the age of ten and graduated from Venice High School. After signing with Motown she teamed up with Rick James, who would become a mentor/collaborator and lover. Brockert was one of only a few white artists signed to Motown Records in 1979 and she achieved mainstream success with her Billboard hit, "Lovergirl" that peaked at #4 in 1985.
According to the LA Times, she had a large following in the black community, due in part to the non-disclosure of her appearance on the first album (there was no photo art). The singer/musician/songwriter fought with Motown over royalties, and in the early 80s the Brockert Initiative was established and named for her which impacts a record company's ability to keep artists under contract while refusing to release their music.
In recent years Marie battled a prescription-drug addiction, according to the LA Times, and TMZ reports the artist suffered a grand mal seizure one month before her death. They also report the L.A. County Coroner's Office found the antiseizure drug diazepam at Teena's home, though that has yet to be verified by additional sources.