Bonnie Pointer, the experience American R&B singer in the 70s and ’80s and founding member of the group Pointer Sisters, died on Monday, June 8, 2020, died at 69. She is a Grammy-winning artist, her sister and former bandmate, Anita, told PEOPLE. The statement did not specify her cause of death.
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning,” Anita said. “Our family is devastated; on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time.”
“Bonnie was my best friend, and we talked every day,” she added. “We never fought for our life. I already miss her, and I will see her again one day.”
More than 50 years ago, Bonnie Pointer and her sisters began singing in their father’s church in Oakland, California. In 1969, Bonnie and her younger sister June — who died of cancer in 2006 at the age of 52 — started performing in clubs as “Pointers, a Pair.”
The duo’s older sisters — Anita, 72, and June, 74 — eventually joined them, and they renamed themselves the Pointer Sisters. In 1973, they released their self-titled debut album, and the song “Yes We Can Can” became their first hit.
The musician was best known for being an early member of the Pointer Sisters — the R&B vocal quartet that once consisted of the four Pointer family sisters: June, Bonnie, Ruth, and Anita. They gained recognition in the mid-1970s for smash-hit radio singles such as How Long “Betcha” Got a Chick on the Side) and Live Your Life Before You Die.
On top of that, Bonnie Pointer kicked off her solo career in the late ’70s after being signed to Motown Records. She released four studio albums in a four-decade span, including her most recent, Like a Picasso, which dropped in 2011.
Bonnie’s publicist, Roger Neal, told the Associated Press (AP) that she died due to cardiac arrest in her hometown of Los Angeles, Calif., on June 8.
Bonnie recorded five albums with her sisters and co-wrote the Pointer Sisters’ country hit “Fairytale” with Anita. They performed the song live at the Grand Ole Opry in 1974, making them the first African American vocal group to perform at the famed venue. A year later, they won their first Grammy for best country duo or group for the track.
The Pointer Sisters continued to earn commercial success for hits such as “I’m So Excited,” “Fire,” and “Slow Hand.” In the mid-’70s, they became a trio when Bonnie decided to embark on a solo career in Motown. Her biggest hit was 1978’s “Heaven Must Have Sent You.”
Bonnie’s last recording was a duet with Anita titled “Feels Like June,” which they released earlier this year and wrote in tribute to their late sister.
“The Pointer Sisters would never have happened had it not been for Bonnie,” Anita said. “The Pointer Sisters spent two decades at the top of the charts and performing to sold-out audiences around the world. The Pointer Sisters 2019 celebrated 50 yrs of performing. Brothers Aaron and Fritz and sisters Ruth survived her by her and Anita Pointer and predeceased by her sister June Pointer.