PHOENIX, AZ (CelebrityAccess) — Joni Sledge, one of the founding members of the familial R&B/disco group Sister Sledge, was found dead at her home in Phoenix on Friday. She was 60.
Her sisters and fellow band members announced Joni's passing on Facebook.
"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.
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."
Joni Sledge helped to form the group for which she would become known with her sisters Debbie, Kim, and Kathy in 1971, while she was attending Temple University. The group first played regionally around Philadelphia and scoring early hits in international markets with "Mama Never Told Me" (1973) which found traction in the UK and "Love Don’t Go Through No Changes On Me" (1974) which was popular in Japan and got Sister Sledge booked to perform at the Tokyo Music Festival.
However, it wasn't until their 1979 album We Are Family that the Sister Sledge had a breakthrough hit in the US. The album had two #1 singles "He's the Greatest Dancer" and the anthemic "We Are Family" as well as the charting "Lost in music."
"Lost in Music"
The group enjoyed commercial success until the early 1980s when the disco era faded and Kathy Sledge left to start a solo career.
In addition to her sisters, Ms. Sledge is survived by her son, Thaddeus. – Staff Writers