Grand Mal Seizure Could Have Killed Teena Marie: Report

ATLANTA - JANUARY 25: Teena Marie performs at the 17th Annual Trumpet Awards at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on January 25, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
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teena marie
Teena Marie performing in Atlanta on January 25, 2009. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)


(CBS/AP) Did a seizure kill Teena Marie?

Police in Pasadena, California, say the popular singer apparently died of natural causes, but a gossip website says the "Ivory Queen of Soul" suffered a grand mal seizure one month before her death, noting that "natural causes" would presumably encompass such a seizure.

Also known as generalized tonic-clonic seizures, grand mal seizures cause muscle rigidity and violent muscle contractions along with loss of consciousness. They typically last less than a minute and cause no lasting health problems.

But seizures can cause falls that result in injury - and Marie did sustain two broken ribs when the seizure caused her to fall, TMZ.com reported. In extreme cases, grand mal seizures can cause injuries - and in some cases they can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office found diazepam, a drug sometimes used to treat seizures, at Marie's home after her death on Sunday, according to TMZ. But friends of the late singer, who was 54, say she had stopped taking the medicine because of side effects and had begun taking herbal remedies instead, according to the site.

Last year Marie, whose hits included "Lovergirl" and "Fire and Desire," acknowleged that she had overcome an addiction to prescription medications.

In 2008, she talked about her excitement of being honored by the R&B Foundation. "All in all, it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride," she said at the time. "I don't plan on stopping anytime soon."