Teena Marie sings to Motown founder Berry Gordy at a 50th anniversary celebration of Motown October 20, 2007 in Detroit.

*Berry Gordy, whose Motown Records released Teena Marie’s first four albums, released a statement Monday reflecting on his relationship with the soulful R&B standout, who died in her sleep Sunday of apparent “natural causes.”

Gordy stated:

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.

Berry Gordy

Founder of Motown