Bonnie Pointer, a founding member of the group The Pointer Sisters, died Monday. She was 69 years old.
Pointer’s publicist Roger Neal reportedly confirmed that her death was a result of cardiac arrest.
On Monday evening, her sister and fellow group member, Anita Pointer, released a statement confirming the news on behalf of the family. “Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time,” said Pointer, according to CNN.
She went on to describe the incredible closeness she shared with her sister who survived a lifetime of living and working alongside one another.
“Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day,” she continued. “We never had a fight in our life. I already miss her and I will see her again one day.”
The Pointer Sisters turned their lives as preacher’s kids into a successful singing career. In 1969, Bonnie and her younger sister June used their experience from performing in the choir of their Oakland, California church to launch their secular career. Later they convinced their elder sisters Anita and Ruth to join and created a group that would cross over into the mainstream.
In 1973, the quartet recorded its debut album and included their first big single, “Yes We Can Can.” The song introduced their unique blend of peppy, country-infused, funky R&B to the world.
Although their 1974 single “Fairytale” gave them their first Grammy (for best country vocal performance by a group), their 1975 track “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)” became their first No. 1 record. Salt-n-Pepa would later offer their take, recording “Chick on the Side” in 1986.
According to Billboard, after recording five albums, Bonnie left the group to go solo in 1977. She signed with Motown and had a hit disco single, “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” in 1978.
Her sister Anita reinforced the importance of Bonnie’s role in forming the influential group.
“The Pointer Sisters never would have happened had it not been for Bonnie,” she said.
Her sister June precedes in death. She died of cancer in 2006.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pointer family at this difficult time.