Legendary Sister Sledge Singer, Joni Sledge, Dies At 60

(Photo credit: Sister Sledge YouTube screenshot)

Joni Sledge, the singer best-known for “We Are Family,” has died at the age of 60.

According to CNN, Sledge, who formed Sister Sledge with her three siblings in 1971, was found unresponsive by a friend at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, her publicist, Biff Warren, said.

The Sledge family was shocked by her death as she had not been ill, Warren said. The cause of death is still unknown.

On Saturday night, her family released news of Joni’s death 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. We miss her and hurt for her presence, her radiance, and the sincerity with which she loved and embraced life.”

The group had still been touring around the country and was slated to perform in Los Angeles next week.

In 1971, Joni and her three sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy formed the group Sister Sledge in their hometown of Pittsburg, due to their harmonies and melodies that seem to come naturally.

The group became famous in 1979 with the Grammy-nominated “We Are Family,” written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic. The song celebrated family, became a staple at weddings, family reunions, barbecues and more. The song was even adopted as an unofficial anthem by the Pittsburgh Pirates during their 1979 championship season.

“We Are Family” peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B and disco charts, Billboard said. The album of the same name reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

The group was also known for “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” “Lost in Music” and a cover of the Motown classic “My Guy.”