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Sad News: R&B Great Teena Marie Dies In Her Sleep At 54.

Mon, December 27, 2010 11:15am EDT by William Earl 1 Comment

The longtime singer and Rick James protégé blended commercial success with fearless experimentation.

Teena Marie, long known for her association with Rick James and triumphant recordings for classic labels such as Motown and Stax, died in her sleep Dec. 26 and was found by her children. The cause of death for the 54-year-old singer, born Mary Christine Brockert, is unknown.

Teena was a bold musical presence who sang, wrote and produced many different styles of R&B. Regularly bucking trends while introducing shades of rock and soul to her music, she hit her biggest success in the 1980s with a string of hits such as “Lovergirl,” “I Need Your Lovin'” and “Fix It.”

She was an active performer and recorded up to her death, releasing her last album, Congo Square, in 2009.

— William Earl