Joni Sledge, a founding member of the R&B vocal group Sister Sledge, was found dead Friday in her home in Phoenix. Joni’s death was confirmed by publicist Biff Warren late Saturday, who said her death was a shock since she had not been ill. She was 60 years old.
Sister Sledge was most popular for feel good disco songs like “We Are Family,” “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and “My Guy.”
“Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin, Joni passed away yesterday. Please pray for us as we weep for this loss. We do know that she is now eternally with Our Lord,” the band said Saturday in a statement posted on their website and Facebook page over the weekend.
Joni, along with her sisters Debbie and Kim, made up Sister Sledge. Kathy, a fourth sister, left the ensemble in 1989, according to the group’s website. The group earned a Grammy-nominated for their standout hit “We Are Family,” written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic. The song went to live on as the ultimate party song at weddings and family barbecues across the country, and even became the Pittsburgh Pirates theme song during their 1979 championship season. The group’s next show had been scheduled for March 18 and a series of European performances was also planned.