Some aspects of celebrity culture are also associated with an increased risk of seizures, including cocaine use or alcoholism -- either due to withdrawal or head traumas suffered while intoxicated, said Steven Pacia, chief of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
The singer struggled with addiction to prescription painkillers following the death of her partner Rick James in 2004, but was successfully detoxed, according to Associated Press reports.
Pacia said an autopsy will reveal more information, as forensic scientists will look for clues such as a bitten tongue, pulmonary edema, or evidence of violent muscle contractions to confirm whether Teena Marie did indeed have a seizure.
Although, without an actual witness to the seizure, he said, it's hard to be 100 percent certain.
Dr. Cynthia Harden, chief of epilepsy and electroencephalography at Long Island Jewish Hospital, said the best way to prevent death from seizures is to control the underlying problem.
"[You have to] prevent seizures themselves with aggressive and appropriate treatment," she said. "Patients and doctors should openly discuss the rare possibility of death, which is a somewhat overlooked risk of having a seizure disorder, so that the full seriousness of epilepsy can be appreciated."