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Sudden Death of Sister Sledge Member Joni Sledge, 60, Stuns Family, Friends and Fans

Joni Sledge (second from right) was the lead singer on their hit 1979 “Lost in Music.” (The Guardian)

Joni Sledge, a founding member of the sibling R&B/disco group Sister Sledge, was discovered dead in her Phoenix, Arizona, home Friday, March 10.

The cause of death for the 60-year-old singer is unknown and the group’s publicist, Biff Warren, told CNN that because Sledge had not been ill, her death comes as a shock to family and friends.

“Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family,” the group said on Facebook Saturday. “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.”

Important Announcement:

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

Posted by Sister Sledge on Saturday, March 11, 2017

The second-oldest sibling, Joni Sledge established the Sister Sledge in 1971 with sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy, who would leave the group in 1989 but occasionally perform with them in the ’90s.

After struggling to achieve wide success, the group’s biggest hit came with “We Are Family,” which landed at No. 1 on the R&B and disco charts and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Recording it was like a one-take party,” Joni Sledge told The Guardian in 2016. “We were just dancing and playing around and hanging out in the studio when we did it.”

Their other hits include “He’s The Greatest Dancer,” the Motown cover “My Guy” and “Frankie.” Although their success waned, the band continued to perform, last performing together at an October concert. They had been scheduled to take the stage in Louisiana March 18 with the Village People and Rose Royce.

Joni Sledge is survived by her son, Thaddeus, and three sister-bandmates. Funeral arrangements have not been confirmed yet, according to

Consoling comments poured in for the decades-old band on their Facebook page.

Celebrities like La Toya Jackson, Sister Sledge producer-songwriter Nile Rodgers and Questlove also shared their condolences.


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