Joni Sledge of ’70s hit-makers Sister Sledge died on Friday, March 10th, with no cause of death announced, according to Vintage Vinyl News. Sister Sledge will always be best remembered for “We Are Family,” their 1979 Top Two hit written and produced by Chic‘s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. The group — who originally featured the four Sledge sisters, Joni, Kathy,Debra, and Kim — scored two other Top 40 hits, including 1979’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer” — also by Edwards and Rodgers — which hit Number Nine and 1982’s cover of Mary Wells‘ “My Guy” which topped out at Number 23 in 1982.
Although their run on the charts ended after that in the States, in the UK, the sisters scored two massive hits — including 1984’s “Lost In The Music,” which hit Number Four and 1985’s “Frankie,” which sailed to Number One.” Upon sister Kathy’s departure from the group in 1989, Joni took on a more active role.
The group announced Joni’s death via social media, posting:
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.
We love you & God Bless You all.
The Sledge Family
Source: Michael Putland / Getty
Kathy Sledge told us a while back that she’s proud of how “We Are Family” continues to connect with fans young and old: [“‘We Are Family’ has always stood for what it is. And I think when people want to come together — especially in crises — I think that you feel more than anything, you feel more than ever like family.”]SOUNDCUE (:09 OC: . . . ever like family)
Joni Sledge is survived by her son and three sisters.