Staples had suffered a concussion recently in a fall near his home in suburban Dalton, Ill.

He and his group gained fame in the 1960s by singing music that urged social and religious change. He was known for both his songwriting and his guitar playing, in which he fused gospel with the blues.

Born to a poor Winona, Miss., family on December 28, 1915, Staples dropped out of school after the eighth grade to pick cotton.

Staples sang with a gospel group, the Golden Trumpets, before moving with his wife, Oceala, to Chicago in 1936, where he performed with the Trumpet Jubilees.

Staples said his earliest exposure to music came in the church. It wasn’t until he was in his teens that he heard the blues.

The Staple Singers made their mark with soulful voices, social activism, religious conviction and danceable “message music.” Their hits songs include “Uncloudy Day” and “I’ll Take You There.”

Pops Staples led the group with his songwriting and distinctive guitar sound. His children – Mavis, Cleotha, Yvonne and Pervis – and his wife all sang with the group at some point.

In 1994, Pops Staples’ Father Father won a Grammy for the Best Contemporary Blues Album. The Staples Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.