Rick James Protege Teena Marie Dead At 54

By D.L. Chandler

Legendary R&B singer Teena Marie has died at the age of 54.

WDAS-FM was the first source to report the passing of the Los Angeles singer born Marie Christine Brockert. The body of the vocalist was reported to be discovered by her daughter earlier yesterday.

CNN analyst Roland Martin tweeted a confirmation of the news as a result of a conversation Martin had with the singer’s manager, Mike Gardener.

Teena Marie's Twitter account was active early yesterday, and the singer seemed to be in good spirits. The news spread quickly of the iconic singer’s death after WDAS's report via Twitter, with several celebrities replying mournfully via the social media outlet.

"@kymwhitley: Im sorry. I got it wrong. Teena has passed. What do you guys want from me?! I just found out my friend is gone."

"@SheilaEdrummer: They just took her body from her home. Teena Marie found dead by her daughter whos BD was yesterday. pray 4 her & her family."

Teena Marie’s storied career began the late '70s in Los Angeles before peaking in the '80s with frequent collaborations alongside the late funk singer Rick James. The pint-size soul singer was known for her soaring vocals and histrionics, defying her cultural heritage as a young white woman growing up in Santa Monica, California.

Marie cited Motown Records as an early influence and the singer went on to release 13 studio albums in her 20-year career, with two of her releases selling platinum and six LPs selling gold.