Joni Sledge, member of Sister Sledge, dies aged 60

Group known for enduring hits ‘We are Family’ and ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’

Joni Sledge, member of the group Sister Sledge has died aged 60. She sang lead vocals on, 'Reach Your Peak,' in 1980, as well as back up vocals on hits, 'Lost in Music,' and 'We Are Family'. Video: BBC/RBB

 

Joni Sledge, who along with her siblings formed the group Sister Sledge and recorded the enduring hit We Are Family, has died aged 60, representatives for the group said on Saturday.

Sledge was found unresponsive at her home in Phoenix on Friday and the cause of death has not been determined, according to a statement from the band’s publicists.

The Philadelphia-born Joni Sledge, along with her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy, formed the group Sister Sledge in 1971.

Aside from We Are Family, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became an international hit, the group also was known for He’s the Greatest Dancer, Lost in the Music and a cover of the Motown classic My Guy.

Joni Sledge did not normally sing lead in the group, but she did on one popular song, Reach Your Peak.

Sister Sledge performed before Pope Francis in 2015 when he visited Philadelphia.

“Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family,” the Sledge Family said in a statement. “We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin, Joni passed away yesterday.”

Chic star Nile Rodgers paid tribute to the star.

Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote and produced Sister Sledge’s hit album We Are Family, which featured their biggest disco hits including the title track and The Greatest Dancer.

Rodgers wrote on Twitter: “#RIPJoniSledge #WeAreFamily My heartfelt condolences to your family because they are my family too. We did something pretty amazing together.”

Sledge is survived by an adult son.

Agencies