Joni Sledge, the singer best-known for the disco anthem We Are Family, has died aged 60

Joni Sledge, who recorded the dance anthem We Are Family with her three sisters as the legendary disco band Sister Sledge, has died aged 60.

She was found dead at her home in Phoenix, Arizon, by a friend on Friday.

The band’s publicist, Biff Warren, said a cause of death has not been established and that Joni had not been ill.

“Yesterday [Friday], numbness fell upon our family. We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin, Joni passed away yesterday. We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss,” the family said in a statement. “We miss her and hurt for her presence, her radiance, and the sincerity with which she loved and embraced life.”

Aside from the Grammy-nominated We Are Family, the hit which sold more than a million copies after it was released in 1978, the group were also known for He’s the Greatest Dancer, Lost in Music and a cover of the Motown classic My Guy.

Joni appeared on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2015 and on The X Factor last year.

We Are Family became an anthem of unity and women’s empowerment and the sisters sang it for Pope Francis in 2015.

La Toya Jackson was among the stars to pay tribute on social media…

 

 

The Sledge sisters – Joni, Debbie, Kim and Kathy – came from a family of performers, including an actress mother, a Broadway star for a father and an opera singer for a grandmother.

They performed together from a young age, leading Joni to note “I can’t remember not singing” during an interview with the BBC in 2015.

Sister Sledge

Sister Sledge in concert in 2010

However, the four have not stayed together throughout their careers. Instead, the band became a trio after sister Kathy left the band in 1989.

They last performed together in concert in October 2016.

Joni is survived by a son, as well as her sisters.