As She Was Dying, Marvin Gaye Gave Tammi Terrell The Last Best Moment Of Her Life

Many of us may have heard about the tight knit sister-brother bond that Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell shared. What many of us may not have ‘heard through the grapevine’ as of yet, is the extremely touching thing that Marvin did for Tammi when she was in the final stages of brain cancer and attending his concert.

Marvin Gave Tammi One Last Opportunity To Do What She Loved
It’s been reported by some of Terrell’s loved ones, that at the end of 1969, just before Tammi’s passing in 1970, she made her last public appearance with the help for her friend, Marvin Gaye. By then she was between 85-95 pounds and had undergone multiple surgeries within just a few months, to treat her brain tumor. Tammi rarely went out in public at that time due to her failing health, but on that day when Gaye was performing at the Apollo Theater, she felt well enough to attend.

While there, Marvin spotted Tammi in the crowd from the stage and quickly walked off stage to sing with her. Tammi happily mustered up enough strength to stand up next to him and sing their timeless hit, “You’re All I Need To Get By” and the audience gave them a standing ovation. Because of the severity of her brain tumor, Tammi hadn’t performed live in almost two years prior. Marvin Gaye’s impromptu performance allowed Tammi to perform live one last time and she loved it. Sadly, months later Tammi took her final breathe on May 16, 1970 at the young age of 24.

Marvin Gaye Went Into Years-Long Deep Depression After Terrell Passed
Terrell’s death took a major toll on Marvin Gaye and drove him into a deep depression. He ended up not performing for two entire years after her passing and he reportedly revealed this to a friend about Tammi’s death:

via ESPN: “In my heart, I could no longer pretend to sing love songs for people. I couldn’t perform,” Gaye told a friend. “When Tammi became ill, I refused to sing in public.”

He also admitted that he felt guilty over her death and performing without her for songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Baby.” Gaye reportedly felt like the success wasn’t deserved without Tammi being here to celebrate in what she helped build in their duets projects.

Gaye Eulogizes Tammi, The Rest Of Motown Reportedly Banned From Funeral
Marvin Gaye delivered the eulogy at Tammi’s funeral and although he was very overwhelmed with grief and his voice repeatedly cracked throughout, he managed to beautifully eulogize the woman he viewed as a ‘sister,’ as their song, “You’re All I Need To Get By” played softly in the background.

Thousands attended Tammi’s funeral, however it was reported that Tammi’s fiancee, Dr. Ernest Garrett, stated Tammi’s mother banned everyone from Motown from the funeral EXCEPT Marvin Gaye, because she felt that he was her only true friend there. Her mother reportedly accused Motown of releasing Tammi’s first and only solo album (which Tammi previously recorded but became too ill to promote) for financial gain and downplaying her illness to the media. We’re not sure how accurate that particular accusation is because we haven’t heard Berry Gordy’s side of the story. But Marvin Gaye also allegedly took issue with Motown around that same time as well.

Overall Marvin’s and Tammi’s friendship reminds us all that when we’ve done all that we can do to help our loved ones, we can always go that extra mile to lift them up until the very end. Continue to rest well Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye.

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