Teena Marie

Teena Marie

Lenny Kravitz has recorded a touching tribute to Teena Marie, insisting he "would not be here" if the singer/songwriter had not saved him from "living on the street" when he was a teenager.

The 54 year old, born Mary Christine Brockert, passed away in her sleep at her home in Pasadena, California on Sunday (26Dec10).

Kravitz, 46, has opened up about his bond with Marie, revealing she took him in when he was a teen - and he's convinced his life would have been very different without the late singer's care and nurturing.

would not be here if the singer/songwriter had not saved him from living on the street

In a sombre video tribute posted on YouTube.com on Monday (27Dec10), the Fly Away hitmaker says, "I woke up to the tragic news that my longterm friend Teena Marie passed away.

"I just want to say that Teena Marie was a treasure. A genius. Composer, arranger, singer, musician. Unique... underrated by far.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Teena. She took me in when I was around 16... I was just a musician on the street, I was living from pillar to post. She took me in, she gave me a bedroom, she fed me, she cooked for me, she took care of me. She gave me instruments to play, she took me to all her recording sessions. She took me to concerts. She nurtured me and helped me to become who I am.

"I would not be here (without her). She changed my life not only as an artist but as a person who truly loved me for who I was. Teena... I will always love and respect you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you Father, for the life of Teena Marie."

Meanwhile in Teena Marie related news police investigating singer/songwriter Teena Marie's cause of death have reportedly ruled out an illegal drug overdose following a search of her California home.

The 54 year old, born Mary Christine Brockert, passed away in her sleep at her home in Pasadena over the weekend (25-26Dec10).

Law enforcement sources tell Tmz.com police searched the residence but only found herbal medication, suggesting she may have died of natural causes.

Marie, who found fame as a protegee of late funk legend Rick James, suffered a grand mal seizure just last month (Nov10).

Autopsy and toxicology tests are expected to be performed on her body later this week (ends31Dec10).