Co-founder of 70s disco group Sister Sledge, Joni Sledge, has passed away at the age of 60 from as yet unknown causes. Her shocked family broke the news this weekend as they requested privacy in the wake of their very sudden and unexpected bereavement. 

Sister SledgeSister Sledge star Joni [centre] has died at 60

Joni Sledge died on Friday (March 10th 2017), being found unresponsive at her home in Phoenix, Arizona. It appears to have been a shock for the whole family, as no-one was aware of any illness that Joni was suffering from.

'Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family', Joni's family said on Facebook yesterday. '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 and embraced life.'

Sister Sledge was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1971 and is probably best known for the timeless 1979 hit 'We Are Family'; their only Platinum single, taken from their third album of the same name, and one that was nominated for a Grammy Award. The band released ten albums in their career, the last being 2003's 'Style', and are also known for songs the likes of 'He's the Greatest Dancer', 'Lost in Music' and 'Frankie'. 

They worked a lot with producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards from Chic, and Debbie, Kim and Joni even had the chance to perform in front of Pope Francis for The World Festival of Families in 2014.

Joni is survived by the likes of her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy Sledge and her son Thaddeus.