The eldest sibling of The Staple Singers, Cleotha Staples, has passed away at the age of 78.

She died at her Chicago, Illinois home on Thursday (21Feb13) following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to the Associated Press.

Born in Mississippi, the singer's father Roebuck 'Pops' Staples formed the influential gospel group with his children Cleotha, Pervis, Yvonne and Mavis in 1948.

The band went on to find success with a number of hits, including Respect Yourself, I'll Take You There, Let's Do It Again and If You're Ready (Come Go with Me), and was frequently asked by Martin Luther King, Jr. to perform at several civil rights events and protests.

In 1999, Cleotha and her family were inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame, and later honoured with a special lifetime achievement prize at the Grammy Awards in 2005.