Sister Sledge singer Joni Sledge has died at the age of 60. The Philadelphia native passed away at her home in Phoenix, Arizona on March 10. So far a cause of death has not been determined.
Joni formed R&B group Sister Sledge with siblings Debbie, Kim and Kathy back in 1971. The band achieved worldwide success in the mid to late 1970s as part of the disco movement. They released their hugely successful breakthrough album ‘We Are Family’ in 1979. The record, which was produced by legendary artists Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and was supported by the hit singles ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’, ‘We Are Family’, ‘Lost In Music’ and ‘Thinking Of You’. Its lead single earned that band a Grammy Award nomination.
Following the success of ‘We Are Family’, the band had a string of hit singles throughout the 1980s. Notable songs include 1982’s ‘My Guy’ (a cover of the 1964 Mary Wells hit), 1984’s ‘Thinking of You’ and 1985’s ‘Frankie’ (which peaked at number one in the UK singles chart).
The group became a trio in 1989 when Kathy Sledge left the band to pursue a solo career.
Sister Sledge released their last studio album ‘Style’ in 2003. In 2004 ‘We Are Family’ was re-released and entered the Top 100 singles in the UK. The group were thrust back into the public eye when they performed for Pope Francis in 2015 at The World Festival of Families in Philadelphia.
A representative of the group released this statement on March 10: “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.” “We miss her and hurt for her presence, her radiance, and the sincerity with which she loved and embraced life.”