Joni Sledge dead: Celebrity tributes led by Niles Rodgers to late Sister Sledge star

Tina Campbell
Joni Sledge dead

Celebrities have flocked to social media to pay their respects to Sister Sledge singer Joni Sledge, following the news that she has died.

Among them are legendary music producer Nile Rodgers and Michael Jackson's sister La Toya Jackson.

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Chic star Rodgers – who was behind Sister Sledge's hit album We Are Family – took to Twitter to offer his "heartfelt condolences" to the remaining members of the sibling quartet.

Writing on the micro-blogging site, the 64-year-old said: "#RIPJoniSledge #WeAreFamily My heartfelt condolences to your family because they are my family too. We did something pretty amazing together."

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Jackson, 60, tweeted: "So sorry to hear that Joni Sledge has passed, my condolences to her family, friends and love ones. #Sistersledge we are family! #RIP".

Elsewhere, TV star Ru Paul, 56, tweeted a screengrab of a Sister Sledge playlist with the short caption: "Sister Sledge Forever."

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While 43-year-old singer and west end star Beverley Knight told her 120k followers: "So sad to hear this. Thank you for the sweet harmony #Joni #SistersSledge."

She signed off with four kisses.

Sledge was found dead in her home in Phoenix, Arizona, by a friend on Friday (10 March), the band's publicist Biff Warren told the Associated Press.

A cause of death has yet to be determined with Warren claiming she had not been ill prior to her passing.

In a statement, Sledge's family said: "On yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin."

Sister Sledge was founded by Joni and her sisters Debbie, Kathy and Kim in 1971, though several years passed before they saw chart success.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2016, Sledge said the band had waited so long for a hit record they began to question whether they were in the right industry.

"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'," she said.

Sister Sledge

But in 1979, the band enjoyed its first hit record with The Greatest Dancer and released the album We are Family, with the single of the same name becoming their biggest hit, selling more than 1 million copies and receiving a Grammy nomination.

Sledge is survived by her son, as well as her sisters, who she last performed with at a concert back in October 2016.

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