March 12, 2017 / 3:24 AM / 4 months ago

Joni Sledge of 'We Are Family' group Sister Sledge dies aged 60

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FILE PHOTO: One of the original members of the music group 'Sister Sledge' Joni Sledge performs 'We Are Family' at the CD launch party for the 'We Are Family' CD and DVD All-Star Katrina benefit CD in Los Angeles August 14, 2006.Fred Prouser/File photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Joni Sledge, who along with her siblings formed the group Sister Sledge and recorded the enduring hit "We Are Family," has died aged 60, representatives for the group said on Saturday.

Sledge was found unresponsive at her home in Phoenix on Friday and the cause of death has not been determined, according to a statement from the band's publicists.

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The Philadelphia-born Joni Sledge, along with her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy, formed the group Sister Sledge in 1971.

Aside from "We Are Family," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became an international hit, the group also was known for "He's the Greatest Dancer," "Lost in the Music" and a cover of the Motown classic "My Guy."

Joni Sledge did not normally sing lead in the group, but she did on one popular song, "Reach Your Peak."

Sister Sledge performed before Pope Francis in 2015 when he visited Philadelphia.

"Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family," the Sledge Family said in a statement. "We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin, Joni passed away yesterday."

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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