CHICAGO (February 22, 2013)--Cleotha Staples, the eldest sibling in the influential gospel group The Staples Singers, has died at 78,
Staples family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter said.
Carpenter said Staples died Thursday at her Chicago home.
She had Alzheimer's disease for the last decade.
The Staples Singers began as a way for Roebuck "Pops" Staples to entertain his family, which included five children, Cleotha, who was known as "Cleedi," Pervis, Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia.
He taught the children gospel songs and accompanied them on his guitar.
Two decades later they became unlikely hit makers for the Stax label.
Staples was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with her family in 1999 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 2005.