Joni Sledge, one of four Philadelphia siblings in Sister Sledge, has died, her family announced. Sledge died Friday, March 10 of undisclosed causes. She was 60.
Sister Sledge dominated Billboard‘s Dance chart in 1979 with three straight number-one hits written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic — including “We Are Family” and “He’s the Greatest,” each of which also made the pop top 10.
“We Are Family” also became the theme song for the 1979 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
The group also reached the top of the pop chart in the U.K. in 1985 with “Frankie” which featured Rodgers returning to produce the group.
“Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. Pray for us as we weep for the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin Joni Sledge. We thank you for privacy as we hurt for her presence, but also for embracing her radiance and the sincerity with which she loved life,” the family said in a statement.
On Saturday, Rodgers remembered Joni in a series of tweets. “Joni said it: ‘I won’t give up my music. Not me, not now no way, no how,'” he wrote with the hashtag #RIPJoniSledge.
He also shared a vintage picture of himself, Edwards and Sister Sledge in the studio writing, “The Recording Session That Changed Our Lives – #WeAreFamily #RIPJoniSlegde #RIPBernardEdwards Miss you for the rest of my days.”
Joni is survived by a son Thaddeus, and her sisters Debbie Sledge, Kim Sledge and Kathy Sledge.
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