Naomi Judd is dead at the age of 76 after a life full of musical success but also struggles with depression and health problems. The death of the popular singer was announced by her daughters on April 30, 2022.
The beloved singer was the mother to actress Ashley and singer Wynonna Judd. What was Naomi Judd’s cause of death? How did she die? She died as a result of “mental illness,” according to an Instagram post on Ashley Judd’s page. The post, which said Judds’ daughters are now in “unknown territory,” did not give a more specific cause of death than that, although Naomi had long discussed severe problems with depression.
Ashley Judd revealed more in the weeks after her mother’s death.
“I will share with you that she used a weapon,” Ashley Judd told Diane Sawyer. “Mother used a firearm.” She said that she found her mother.
However, People Magazine reported through sources that Judd died by suicide. The medical examiner’s office in Nashville told Heavy, “We are only giving out information to the family at this time.”
That follows other similar reports. Journalist Micah Kennedy wrote in a story posted on the website of News Channel 5, a television station in Nashville, that Judd “has died after taking her own life.” However, the family has not confirmed that, he did not cite a source, and his story was later updated to remove that statement. CBS Pittsburgh is also reporting she died of suicide but is not citing a source.
There is evidence that the death came as a surprise. TMZ reported that the death came as a “shock,” in part because Naomi and Wynonna were due to embark on a rare arena tour later this year.
According to TODAY, Judd died one day before she was supposed to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, an event that Wynonna Judd posted about just one day before her mother’s death. Naomi Judd lived in Franklin, Tennessee.
Judd died near Nashville, Tennessee, according to The Associated Press.
If you are struggling yourself, please be aware that help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day in multiple languages.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Judds Said They Lost Their Mother ‘to the Disease of Mental Illness’
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Naomi’s daughters gave a glimpse into her cause of death in a statement, attributing her passing to mental illness and describing themselves as “shattered.”
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement said. “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.” According to the Associated Press, “The statement did not elaborate further.”
AP reported that Judd was also survived by “her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland, who was a backup singer for Elvis Presley.”
According to Daily Variety, Judd’s publicist released a statement saying that Strickland, her husband of 32 years, “will not be making any further statements. Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
2. Wynonna Judd Recently Posted an Old Photo With Her Mom, Saying She Was Looking Forward to the Country Music Hall of Fame Awards on May 1
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Wynonna Judd’s most recent post on Instagram showed her with her mother and indicated they were looking forward to a May 1 red carpet appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame awards. “Can’t think of a better way to be welcomed to our new home at the @officialcmhof than by the fans. Looking forward to seeing your sweet faces along the red carpet on Sunday! 🎶 #HERstory,” she wrote.
However, Wynonna removed the post after her mother’s death. However, according to The Tennessean, at the request of the family, the ceremony will still be held.
On April 12, 2022, Wynonna posted a picture with her mom on her Instagram page, where she did not indicate anything was wrong.
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Her comment threads are now filled with well-wishes from people mourning Naomi’s death.
Naomi had not posted on her own Instagram page since 2018.
3. Naomi Revealed She Considered Suicide a Few Years Ago Due to a Struggle With Depression
In 2017, Naomi opened up to the TODAY show about her struggles with depression, which she revealed were so severe that she contemplated suicide. The headline on that story reads, “Naomi Judd reveals she considered suicide while in ‘dark hole of depression.'”
“I didn’t get off my couch for two years,” Naomi said in that interview. “I was so depressed that I couldn’t move… My husband (Larry Strickland) and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom… You become immobilized.”
On Instagram, Naomi described herself this way: “Singer, songwriter, and activist. My book RIVER OF TIME about depression and hope is available now.” Her website bio reads, “Today, Naomi is promoting her new memoir ‘River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope.’”
According to ABC News, Judd previously revealed that childhood sexual abuse contributed to her depression, which she described as “extreme” and “so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening.”
Judd told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, “I had to realize that, in a way, I had to parent myself. We all have this inner child, and I needed, for the first time in my life, to realize that I got a raw deal, OK, now I’m a big girl. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it.”
Her husband said in that interview, of family members of those with depression, “Get ready to walk that path with them, because they’re gonna need, they’re gonna need you every minute.”
4. Naomi Judd Suffered From Health Problems Throughout the Years, Including Hepatitis
Naomi Judd also struggled with physical health problems over the years, speaking openly about them.
Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis. According to Health.com, she started experiencing “headaches, nausea, and muscle aches” in 1989 while on tour. She learned she had hepatitis, which she believed she contracted while working as a registered nurse, the site reported.
It added that she was told she was cured in 1995. Hep Mag reported in 2014, “The star was subsequently diagnosed with non-A, non-B hepatitis, which is how doctors classified hep C before a comprehensive screening test for the virus came out in 1992. After getting liver enzyme tests, Judd was told that she had as few as three years left to live.”
5. The Judds Rose to Musical Success from the Appalachian Foothills of Kentucky
On her website bio, Judd describes how she rose from the “Appalachian foothills of Ashland, Kentucky,” finding success as a “mother and daughter duo” called The Judds.
The Judds – Naomi and Wynonna – were “first discovered by RCA label head Joe Galante in 1983 after landing a spot on WSM-TV’s ‘The Ralph Emery Show,'” the bio says.
“For the rest of the 1980’s, each single from The Judds released by RCA went to the Billboard Top 10, with 14 hits going all the way to number one. The Judds swept the CMA’s Vocal Group/Duo category from 1985 to 1991 and garnered six GRAMMY® Awards,” the bio reads.
She retired from singing due to her health in 1991.