Bonnie Pointer, who inspired three of her church-singing siblings in 1969 to create the Pointer Sisters, one of the greatest performances of the next two decades, died on Monday.
The Grammy nominee died in Los Angeles from cardiac arrest, said publicist Roger Neal. She was in her 69s.
"It is with deep sorrow that I must reveal to the Pointer Sisters fans that my sister, Bonnie, has died this morning," said sister Anita Pointer in a statement. "Our family is devastated, and we are calling for your support at this time on behalf of my siblings and I and the whole Pointer family."
Bonnie Pointer often sang lead, and through his early hits, including Yes We Can and Fairytale, was an essential member of the group. She would leave in 1977 for a short and modest solo career, as her sisters had several mega-hits without her.
Ruth, Anita, Bonnie, and June, born in Oakland , California, the daughters of a pastor who also had two older sons, grew up singing at his church.
Shortly after graduating from high school it was Bonnie who first decided to step away from singing gospel songs to clubs to pursue a serious singing career.
"Had it not been for Bonnie, the Pointer Sisters would never have existed," Anita Pointer said in her speech.