Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the world-famous song “We Are Family,” has died, her representative said on Saturday.

Sledge was found dead in her home by a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, Sister Sledge‘s publicist, Biff Warren, said. A cause of death has not been determined. He said she had not been ill. Sledge was 60 years old.

The Sledge family was shocked by her death. “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,” the band said Saturday in a statement posted on their website and Facebook page. They also posted a tribute on Twitter with the caption “We love you Joni.”

Sledge and her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy formed Sister Sledge in 1971 in Philadelphia, their hometown, but struggled for years before success came.

“The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying: ‘Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,’” Joni told The Guardian in an interview last year.

“We Are Family” peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B and disco charts. Although their greatest hits were behind them, the band continued to tour and remained active. Their next show is scheduled for March 18. It is not yet clear whether the band will perform on that date.

 

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