Patricia Eva “Bonnie” Pointer, one of the founding members of The Pointer Sisters has died. She was 69 years old.
According to Variety, a representative confirmed that Bonnie’s cause of death was cardiac arrest.
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of the Pointer Sisters that my sister Bonnie died this morning,” Bonnie’s sister Anita Pointer said in a statement on Monday. “Our family is devastated. On behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time.”
The Pointer Sisters’ notable hits include “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic,” “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Neutron Dance” and more. The legendary group has won three Grammys and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Born July 11, 1950, Bonnie and her sisters sang at the West Oakland Church of God (their father’s church) in Oakland, Calif. Helping form The Pointer Sisters in 1969 (they started as a trio with Bonnie, June and Anita—eldest sister June joined in 1972), Bonnie remained with the group until 1977, when she left to pursue a solo career. Bonnie’s biggest solo hit was “Heaven Must Have Sent You.” She also recorded four solo albums.
In Ruth Pointer’s memoir, I’m So Excited: My Life as a Pointer, she talked about her sister. “Bonnie in particular was driven, citing a desperate need to do something with her life. She was wild, fierce, and not to be denied. She hung out in Haight-Ashbury with the hippies, protested at Berkeley, wrote poetry with Angela Davis, and dated Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party.”
Said Bonnie Pointer in a 2013 interview with Alan Mercer:
I knew I didn’t want to work a regular 9 to 5 job. I wanted to do something that I like to do. I am an entertainer and I’ve always done that since I was a little girl. My mother always used to tell me to dance for her friends. When my parents went to church, me and my sisters would get up on the coffee table and sing. We would use a pie pan as a tambourine. Then, when I was in high school someone told me I could sing. I never thought I really could. I would sing along with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. So when they told me I could sing I started to believe them.” Performing for her was “desperation. I wanted out of the ghetto. I wasn’t even in the ghetto really, but I still wanted out.
Bonnie is survived by her sisters Ruth and Anita Pointer and brothers Aaron and Fritz. “Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day,” Anita added. “We never had a fight in our life. I already miss her and I will see her again one day.”
Rest in Power, Ms. Bonnie Pointer.