Joni Sledge died on Saturday aged 60. The cause of death is unknown at the moment, and she had not been ill in the time leading up to her death. As a member of Sister Sledge she helped popularise disco and stayed with the band throughout their near 50 year career, enjoying huge commercial success and influence. Sister Sledge blurred the lines between soul, R&B and, later, disco with casual ease, creating a sound that was both original and accessible. The band enjoyed peak success during the late ’70s, with their 1979 album ‘We Are Family’ — going platinum in the US and gold in the UK. While many will know them for hits such as ‘Lost In Music’, the group have released 10 albums since forming in 1971 with the most recent being 2003’s ‘Style’. The band still tour infrequently and Joni Sledge’s last performance with the group was in October.
The band were set to play LA on Saturday 18th of this month but the show has understandably been cancelled. The future of the band is not entirely clear at this point — the group do still have dates in the EU booked for later on this year. As yet they have not commented on whether or not they intend to continue. The band announced Sledge’s passing via facebook, saying “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.“