Naomi Judd, country singer and one half of hit country duo The Judds, has died aged 76.
Judd’s second daughter, Ashley, confirmed the news in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” the statement read. “We lost our mother-in-law to mental illness.” Judd was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1991 and later revealed she also suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and attempted suicide. She founded the Naomi Judd Education & Research Fund in 1991 to support liver disease research.
A member of Judds’ press team also confirmed Naomi’s death, telling Altwire, “Entertainment icon Naomi Judd died on April 30, 2022, outside of Nashville. Her husband, Larry Strickland, 32, will not make any further statement. Naomi Judd’s family have asked for privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time. »
Judd was one half of The Judds, a country music duo that included his daughter Wynonna. The Judds released six studio albums between 1983 and 1991, and more than 20 hit singles, winning five Grammy Awards. Naomi retired from the band in 1991 due to her diagnosis of hepatitis.
After Naomi Judd retired from the duo, Wynonna Judd went on to pursue a successful solo career. She has released eight studio albums and also had over 20 hit singles. Wynonna is also considered one of the most recognized and awarded country singers.
Naomi Judd first went public with her mental health struggles just six years ago when she revealed to People Magazine how bad things got after The Judd’s 2012 tour.
“No one can figure it out unless you’ve been there,” she told People. “Think about your worst day of your entire life – someone died, you lost your job, you found out you were betrayed, your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together, and that’s what depression looks like.
After the tour, Naomi said her mental illness deteriorated to the point of long-repressed trauma, including alleged sexual abuse by a great-uncle. She remembers not being able to leave the house for weeks. Naomi was prescribed a host of antidepressants, including lithium, the latter of which can have serious side effects.
“I still have to take a lot of pills,” she told People. “My face is swollen. I have no hair. My right hand is shaking really badly from the lithium. I look awful. But I can’t be anything after what I’ve been through.
Fans poured their grief and support into daughter Ashley Judd’s tweet announcing her mother’s death.
Additionally, various tributes poured in from Naomi’s closest friends and colleagues:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow Kentucky, Naomi Judd. Naomi has always been so special to her. She has accomplished so much and we will miss and love her forever. My prayers go out to Naomi and his family. – gayle crystal
“We just heard the devastating news that Naomi Judd has returned home. The Judds will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow. It’s so sad. We’ve been friends for decades and worked hundreds of shows together. Our prayers for WY and Ashley and all who loved her…which includes the four of us! The Oak Ridge Boys
“Such a sad day in country music with the loss of Naomi Judd. Her family is in my prayers. – Johnny Lee
“Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration with the medal ceremony for the Judds officially welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame… But sadly the country music community and millions of fans around the world are mourning the loss of Naomi Judd, the matriarch of country music duo The Judds. Our condolences go out to Wynonna, Ashley and Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland. – Dallas Wayne, singer-songwriter and host of SiriusXM’s “Willie’s Roadhouse”
“I have so many memories with Naomi Judd – from our early years on stage across the country, from award shows to recent neighbor encounters at church or in our town of Franklin. I am speechless and so sad! My prayers go out to Wynonna, Ashley and the rest of her family. God bless and comfort you all. – Lee Greenwood
“So sorry to learn of the passing of the one and only Naomi Judd. A true living legend of country music will be sadly missed. Rest in peace Naomi Judd. Prayers for the family. – Shane Owen
“I first met Naomi when I was 14 and we were performing on the Ralph Emery Show. Ralph affectionately called them the ‘Soap Sisters’ since Naomi made her own laundry soap. She was so sweet and kind and the stayed with her every time I was with her over the years. She recently wrote me the most precious note about my publicity and how much she loved my music. I will cherish it forever. I am so deeply saddened by this loss. We looked forward to Judds’ induction into the AMC Hall of Fame. The music business will never be the same. Please join us in prayer for the comfort of his family. during this period. ” – Kelly Lang
“It’s a sad day to hear of Naomi Judd, her creative and clever creation of The Judds’ image had a huge impact on country music. She will be sorely missed.“ – Janie Fricke
“I am so sorry to learn of the loss of a great lady of country music. Naomi was not only an incredible singer/songwriter, but also a writer, actress and philanthropist. She will be sorely missed. country music is better off because she was part of it… Godspeed Naomi! Heath Wright / Ricochet
“Another great musical voice – Naomi Judd – fell silent and went home. I’ll never forget featuring her and Wynonna on their very first network TV show appearance. I knew after introducing them that they were destined for greatness. My prayers are with his family, friends and fans at this very sad time.” T.G. Sheppard
“Half of country music’s all-time favorite duos have passed away. Prayers to Wy and his family. – Canyon Joey
“The Judds were the superstars of their day, and I knew them from the start when I played piano for Naomi and Wynonna on the ‘Ralph Emery Morning Show’. Ralph then called them The Soap Sisters because Naomi made homemade laundry soap and brought it to the show as a gift for all of us. I knew from the start that they were destined for greatness. I am shocked to hear of Naomi’s passing on the eve of their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame – the moment their greatness would forever be recognized in the history books. For me, The Judds have always been a closing act. I’m so sorry that Naomi made the decision to pull the curtain down more early. My prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.” Tim Atwood
“Naomi Judd was a dear friend and an incredible talent. She was always so sweet and kind to me. I knew her well and did dozens of shows with The Judds. They touched millions with their music. Sheila and my hearts are broken. Please pray for the Judd family, fans and friends. Rest in peace, sweet sister. I love you!” – T. Graham Brown
“Sad to learn of Naomi Judd’s passing. I have tremendous respect for her work in country music and send my condolences to her family and friends. – Ian Flanigan
“I am at a loss for words on learning of the passing of Naomi Judd…. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. “Grandpa” is and always will be my favorite Judds song. Everyone, please keep their family and close friends in your prayers during this time. – Makenzie Phipps
“Naomi was a lovely person and this is a tragic loss. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Wynona and Ashley. – Lacy J. Dalton
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of my fellow Kentucky and legend Naomi Judd. Their music dates back to my childhood when Mom would sing their songs to us. Their sound was iconic and I remember so many of their hits. Naomi will forever be remembered in memories. Prayers to Wy and Ashley + family. – JD Shelburne
Judd’s daughter’s statement did not explicitly mention suicide, only proposing that the death was due to mental illness. Judd is survived by his daughters Wynonna and Ashley.
Born on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky, Judd was a single mother when she and her eldest daughter Wynonna formed the country duo the Judds. Their hits include “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984), “Why Not Me” (1984) and “Let Me Tell You About Love” (1989).
Naomi and Wynonna had just reunited for the first time in years to sing at the 2022 CMT Music Awards, where they performed their hit, “Love Can Build a Bridge.” A tour was also scheduled to start later this year.
Naomi Judd will be remembered as a country music legend and for being open about her mental health struggles. Her candor about her struggle with depression helped break the stigma around mental illness and inspired others to seek help.
You’re not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, please seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides accessible and confidential 24/7 support for those in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. You can call the Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to speak with a trained counselor.