Days after soul singer Teena Marie suddenly died, answers about her death remain in short supply.
According to The Associated Press, investigators said an autopsy turned up no signs of trauma or a discernible cause of death. Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Marie's cause of death may be determined by toxicology tests, the results of which would be available in around six weeks. No illegal drugs were found in a search of the singer's Pasadena home earlier this week, and the AP reports that police said Marie appeared to have died from natural causes.
Marie was found unresponsive in her home Sunday after she settled in for an afternoon nap. TMZ reported that Marie might have suffered a grand mal seizure while she slept, which may have contributed to her death. The songstress' publicist has also said Marie experienced a grand mal seizure a month ago, from which she was still recovering, and had since reportedly insisted on having someone nearby when she was sleeping.
According to Essence, Marie had suffered an additional seizure en route to the hospital after she sustained an attack last month. She was unable to secure an appointment with a neurologist for another three weeks and was prescribed medication in the interim. However, her publicist, Lynn Jeter, said the medication "made her suicidal," so Marie reduced the dosage.
Marie also opened up to Essence last year about her struggle with an addiction to prescription medication after the sudden 2004 death of her onetime musical mentor and paramour Rick James.
"After his death I became addicted to Vicodin, which I had been taking for my physical pain because I'd had a lot of accidents. Once I realized that those pills not only took away my physical agony by masking my emotional pain, I really became addicted. When I was on the medication I never cried about him, but then I went cold turkey and I cried so much and have been for the last three years," she said. "He was my musical soul mate. We were like an extension of each other. I miss all our talks. We were like family; only family can talk about family, not anyone else."
Share your memories of Teena Marie in the comments.
As fellow Cash Money affiliates Lil Wayne, B.G., Juvenile, Mack Maine and Baby made their way into the Fifth African Baptist Church in New Orleans on Thursday morning (December 30), hundreds of fans gathered outside the church to pay tribute to fallen hometown rapper Magnolia Shorty.
In addition to Weezy and his crew, a number of other local bounce artists made their presence felt at the funeral, including Partners-N-Crime, Kilo G, DJ Jubilee, Big Freeda and Ms. Tee, who was the first female artist to sign with Cash Money, followed by Shorty in 1995, who was the label's second, and last, female member.
The closed funeral began at 11 a.m., and while more than 1,000 friends and relatives packed into the brick house of worship, the street outside was overflowing with nearly 1,500 fans paying tribute to the bounce legend. Many were wearing shirts in praise of Shorty (born Renetta Lowe), 28, with messages such as "R.I.P. Magnolia Shorty" and "We Love You Renetta," as well as buttons that read "Forever 'Shorty.' "
Wayne, Birdman and Mack Maine tweeted their condolences in the wake of Shorty's murder last week, but on Thursday, it was former Cash Money rapper and Hot Boyz member B.G. who remembered his fallen comrade after the funeral.
"Magnolia Shorty was like a sister to me and it ain't just what she meant to me; it's what she meant to Louisiana, it's what she meant to New Orleans," B.G. told MTV News, noting that he was the one who brought Shorty into the Cash Money fold when she was just 12 years old. "She was the queen of bounce. She was someone you loved to be around. She was the best at what she do. I'm really speechless right now, but it ain't sunk in yet. ... She owned this city, but she was this close to ownin' the world."
The program for the service featured a photo of Shorty under the headline "A Homegoing Celebration for a Phenomenal Queen." Shorty was gunned down last Monday alongside an unidentified man in a vehicle that crashed near a New Orleans East housing complex. Her murder came seven years after the November 2003 killing of another New Orleans rapper, James "Soulja Slim" Tapp, whose original stage name was Magnolia Slim and who grew up with Shorty in the Magnolia housing projects and gave her the Magnolia Shorty stage name.
The funeral was to be followed by a traditional New Orleans second line celebration in which her casket was be paraded down the street accompanied by musicians, friends, family and supporters.
Share your memories of Magnolia Shorty in the comments.
To celebrate a vibrant first season of Billboard.com’s Tastemakers video series, we decided to do something extra special for our final session of 2010: an exclusive live Keri Hilson concert for a lounge-full of fans at Aloft Harlem. What better way to fete the year than with Hilson “Pretty Girl Rock”in’ the grand opening of the sleek, new space in New York City?