*Sadly we must report the passing of Joni Sledge, one of the founding members of Sister Sledge, the iconic female singing group comprised of the Sledge sisters famous for their equally iconic hit, “We Are Family” released in 1979. Joni Sledge was 60.

Via a statement released by a representative for the group, Sledge was found unresponsive at her home in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday (03-10-17) and was later pronounced dead.

Joni Sledge, along with her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy, formed Sister Sledge in 1971. The group amassed a string of gold and platinum singles and albums. In addition to their success as recording artists, Sister Sledge has also been constantly booked for appearances over the years as well.

But like a lot of music artists, they had to put their time in and wait for the right moment.

“The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying: ‘Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,'” Joni told The Guardian in an interview last year.

But of course that all changed when they hooked up with production duo Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards who wrote and produced their hit album and signature song, “We Are Family.”

READ RELATED STORY: IS IT ‘WE ARE FAMILY’ OR ‘WE ARE NOT FAMILY?’… INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW

joni sledge

The Sledge family released a statement on Facebook about Joni’s death.

Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt 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.

We thank you in advance for allowing us the privacy to mourn quietly as a family. We miss her and hurt for her presence, her radiance, and the sincerity with which she loved & embraced life.

As of this posting, Joni Sledge’s cause of death is currently unknown and according to her family, a memorial service will be announced early next week. In addition to her beloved sisters, she is survived by her adult son.

EUR BONUS COVERAGE ….

An interview with Joni and Debbie Sledge