Country music icon, Naomi Judd reportedly took her own life on Saturday April 30, following a longtime battle with mental illness at the age of 76.
Naomi’s daughters, Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd, announced their mother’s death in an emotional statement on Saturday.
“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,” the statement read. “We are in unknown territory.”
An additional statement from Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, read:
“Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
The singer is said to have taken her own life and left her family devastated just a day before she was set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, reports say.
Judd had written extensively about her struggles with depression, and even referenced suicide in an open letter published in People magazine in 2018.
‘For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don’t have very good answers,’ she wrote.
‘We do know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.’
On Sunday, her daughters broke down in tears during a ceremony to induct their late mother into the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of The Judds – just 24 hours after her passing.
‘My mama loved you so much,’ Ashley said to the crowd gathered. ‘And I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,’ she said through tears.
Judd’s daughter Wynonna – who performed with her for years in ‘The Judds’ revealed she had succumbed to the ‘disease of mental illness.’
The mother-daughter performers scored 14 No. 1 songs in a career that spanned nearly three decades. After rising to the top of country music, they called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis.
The Judds’ hits included Love Can Build a Bridge in 1990, Mama He’s Crazy in 1984, Why Not Me in 1984, Turn It Loose in 1988, Girls Night Out in 1985, Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain in 1986 and Grandpa in 1986.
The duo last performed together at the CMT Music Awards of April 11, singing Love Can Build a Bridge. They were accompanied by a gospel choir.
They first got attention singing on Ralph Emery’s morning show in early 1980, where the host named them the ‘Soap Sisters’ because Naomi said she used to make her own soap.
After the success of ‘Mama He’s Crazy,’ they won the Horizon Award at the 1984 CMA Awards. Naomi started her speech by saying, ‘Slap the dog and spit in the fire!’
Daughter Ashley Judd is an actress known for her roles in such movies as ‘Kiss the Girls,’ ‘Double Jeopardy’ and ‘Heat.’