Teena Marie's mentor Berry Gordy has spoken of his grief following the singer's sudden death over the holiday weekend (25-26Dec10) - insisting he is "horrified" by the tragedy.
The soul legend, who signed to Gordy's Motown record label in the late 1970s, passed away in her sleep at her home in Pasadena, California on Sunday (26Dec10). She was 54 years old.
Stars including Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Mary J. Blige and Lenny Kravitz led tributes to Marie after the news broke, and now her longtime friend and former boss Gordy spoken of his heartache.
He says in a statement, "I am horrified by the sudden death of my darling Teena Marie. She was my 'baby,' always true to herself, always true to her heart. When I first auditioned her she was so awesome she blew me away... She had so much soul - the only thing white about her was her skin. She was a powerhouse performer, writer, producer and arranger. Anyone who ever saw her perform, alone or with Rick James, will never forget how exciting music can be.
"My heart goes out to her sweet, sweet daughter, Alia Rose, her family, friends and fans. Teena Marie will always be a part of the Motown family. We will all miss her."