Three weeks after performing with daughter Wynonna Judd for the last time at the 2022 CMT Awards, country legend Naomi Judd has died at 76.
In a statement posted to social media, her daughters — Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd — said, “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.”
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.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) April 30, 2022
Without going into detail as to a specific cause of death, the statement went on, “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.”
The Judds had been set for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday.
In 2016, Judd spoke out about her struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
The singer admitted she had contemplated jumping from a bridge near her home in Tennessee in 2013, calling that period in her life a challenge in spite of receiving medication and attending therapy sessions.
The depression, anxiety, and panic attacks were too much for her. She told People magazine 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.”
The pain began after she returned home from the Judds’ Last Encore tour. It was at the time where she became so weak, she considered suicide, thinking it would be easier to end her pain. “It’s so beyond making sense but I thought, ‘Surely my family will know that I was in so much pain and I thought they would have wanted me to end that pain [through suicide].’”
The Grammy winner was reflecting on her experiences in the memoir “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” in which she detailed having panic attacks.
Judd also had to deal with the physical side effects of the medications she was taking, saying, “My face is swollen. I don’t have any hair. My right hand shakes real bad from lithium. I look horrible. But I can’t be anything else after what I’ve gone through.”
Born January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky, she was a single mom when she and eldest daughter Wynonna formed the country duo the Judds. Signed to RCA Nashville in 1983, the act achieved incredible success over the next eight years, before a hepatitis diagnosis for Naomi led to a breakup.
Over the course of their career, the Judds released six studio albums and had some 14 #1 hits on the country charts, including “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984), “Why Not Me” (1984), and “Let Me Tell You About Love” (1989).
When Naomi recovered enough, the Judds released a live album and in 2011 embarked on a farewell tour.
On April 11, the Judds performed “Love Can Build a Bridge” at the 2022 CMT Awards. It became their final performance and Naomi Judd’s final appearance.
Many celebrities, especially in the country music world, have taken to social media to express their grief:
Oh Sweet Jesus… Naomi Judd has gone home … the day before the Judds @countrymusichof induction … This is divesting news… We are saddened beyond words…
— The Oak Ridge Boys (@oakridgeboys) April 30, 2022
Back in 2003 Naomi Judd was a judge on Star search.. she gave me a perfect score and that changed my life.. Thank you Ms. Judd. She was a lovely woman and now the world is a little less bright without her. Condolences to her family and fans. Especially Wynonna and Ashley. 🙏🏾🙏🏽🙏🏻
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) April 30, 2022
I’m very sad to hear that Naomi Judd has passed away. Rest In Peace .Sending love and light to Ashley and Wynonna and all who love her.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) April 30, 2022
— Betty Buckley (@BettyBuckley) April 30, 2022
Rest In Peace, Naomi Judd. Honored to have witnessed “Love Can Build a Bridge” just a few short weeks ago. 🤍😔
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) April 30, 2022
My heart is sinking over the loss today of Naomi Judd at 76. She was a talented lady, and one of a kind, making The Judds iconic in every sense of the word. This pic was taken just a few weeks ago😢 pic.twitter.com/mRYJHUjTc8
— Cody Alan (@CodyAlan) April 30, 2022
Rest in power Naomi Judd
— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) April 30, 2022