Joni Sledge died of natural causes, Sister Sledge confirm in family statement

The singer died last week at the age of 60.

Sister Sledge have released a family statement following the death of their sister Joni, who died last week aged 60. 

The band pay tribute to their "forever beautiful, forever loved" sister in the statement, which also confirms she died of natural causes which arose from complications from a pre-existing condition.

The remaining members of the group, Debbie and Kim, have vowed to continuing touring as a group.

The statement reads: "We are experiencing painful loss, however at the same time we can honestly say that we have the 'peace that passes all understanding' and the 'Joy of the Lord', which is our strength, because we know without a doubt that she is in heaven with our loving mother Florez Sledge and more importantly our Lord Jesus / Yeshua the Christ!

"She is at peace, and knowing that, comforts us. Our Joni was a beautiful person, a phenomenal artist and producer, a brilliant business woman and a powerhouse…truly Flo’s daughter! What an incredible privilege and honor for us to have known, lived and worked with such an enormous personality! Her greatest love and joy was her son Thaddeus (whom we are all very proud of), and performing live with her family.

"In the spirit of sisterhood and in the Sister Sledge tradition, we will honor Joni Sledge, her zest for life, her strength of character, her creative talent, her powerhouse personality, and her loving memory by spreading joy through her songs and shining light and love through music.

"We are committed to continuing the Sister Sledge tradition of unity, family, empowerment, and sisterhood! We will continue with great honor in celebration of the beautiful life of our dear sister, Joni Sledge. Her love lives on in all of us. We are sisters. We are Flo's daughters. We are one. We are family..."

Sister Sledge were one of the defining bands of the disco era, notching up 12 Top 40 singles in the UK between 1975 and 1993. Their hits include He's The Greatest Dancer, We Are Family, Thinking Of You, Lost In Music and their only Number 1 single, 1985's Frankie.

MORE: Sister Sledge's complete Official UK Chart history