The R&B singer - best known for her 80s hits `I Need Your Lovin`` and `Lovergirl` - was found dead in her sleep by her daughter at her home in Pasadena, California, yesterday (26.12.10), her publicist has confirmed.
Teena - born Mary Christine Brockert, and also known as Lady T - was one of very few Caucasian artists on the Motown record label in the 1970s and fear of a backlash among fans led to her image being omitted from her first album `Wild and Peaceful`.
However, her career with Motown ended badly and she launched a legal battle which led to the `TeenaMarie Law`, meaning a label cannot keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for them.
Commenting on her involvement in the law, Teena confessed she never "set out" to make it.
She said: "It wasn`t something I set out to do. I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts."
She was largely out of the public eye for much of the 1990s following the birth of her daughter Alia, but put out the album `La Dona` in 2004, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Singer Mary J. Blige tweeted her feelings on Teena`a death, saying she loved her.
She wrote: "In my heart she`s Tina, So rest in peace Tina, i love u. Every girl that grew up in the hood , with her blasting through the windows, Cars and radio waves can Feel me.
"Rest in peace Teena Mari. My Love love for u is forever (sic)"