Country legend Naomi Judd, one half of the Judds and mother to Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd, is dead at 76. The sisters released a statement to the Associated Press saying, “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 she was loved by her public as we loved her. We are in unknown territory.” No further details have been released as the family asks for privacy as they grieve. Naomi Judd’s death comes one day before the Judds were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Naomi Judd: A Country Legend
Naomi and her daughter Wynonna signed to RCA Nashville in 1983 and released six studio albums. Hits included “Love Can Build a Bridge,” “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” and “Give a Little Love,” They won five Grammy Awards, nine Country Music Association awards, and seven awards from the Academy of Country Music. The duo officially ended in 1991 when Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Wynonna went on to have a solo career, though she and her mother occasionally reunited for tours and one-off appearances.
Naomi Judd’s Struggle With Mental Illness
While the family has not spoken on the specific details of her death, Naomi Judd told People Magazine in 2016 that she had been struggling with deep depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. She had been through multiple therapies, was on heavy medication, and had two stays in psychiatric wards. She even contemplated jumping off a bridge near her Tennessee home. Speaking of her struggle, Judd said at the time:
“Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there. 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.”
Judd’s issues appear to have surfaced when the Judds had their Last Encore Tour in 2012. Not performing had the singer feeling empty, and suppressed childhood memories, including sexual abuse by an uncle, began to plague her.
The Nerd Stash offers best wishes to Country Legend Naomi Judd’s family as they grieve her death.