Award-winning country music superstar Naomi Judd passed away on Saturday at the age of 76, according to statements from her family, the Washington Examiner reported.
The exact cause of death has not been revealed, but according to daughter Ashley Judd, it was related to her mother’s long struggle with mental illness.
Mental illness and depression
CMT News reported that a statement on behalf of Larry Strickland, Judd’s husband, said, “Entertainment icon Naomi Judd passed away April 30, 2022, outside of Nashville. Her husband, Larry Strickland, of 32 years will not be making any further statements. Naomi Judd’s family requests privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
In a tweet, Naomi’s youngest daughter Ashley wrote, “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
Naomi’s battle with mental illness was not a secret but rather was something that she had spoken out about publicly in recent years.
“Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there,” Judd told People magazine in 2016 of the crippling depression she suffered from that nearly drove her to suicide in the past. “Think of your very worst day of your whole life — someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease — you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
Was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday
Tragically, Naomi Judd’s death came just after dates were announced for “The Final Tour” with her oldest daughter and music partner Wynonna, which was set to begin in September — their first tour in roughly a decade — and just one day before the famous duo was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds,” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement to Billboard.
He added, “Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.”
Five-time Grammy Award-winning duo
The Examiner noted that a spokesperson for CMT said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of the legendary Naomi Judd and honored to have shared many unforgettable moments and performances together over the years. Our hearts go out to her husband Larry, daughters Wynonna and Ashley, and her legions of fans around the world during this difficult time.”
Naomi and Wynonna had just recently performed together at the CMT Music Awards show on April 11, where they sang their hit “Love Can Build a Bridge” with backing from a gospel choir.
According to Billboard, The Judds were arguably the most successful female duo ever in the history of country music, with 14 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and five Grammy Awards. Naomi will certainly be missed but she will not be forgotten.