Naomi Judd has died. She was 76.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” daughters Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd shared in a Saturday, April 30, Twitter statement. “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 late Kentucky native was one-half of the Grammy-winning duo, The Judds, alongside Wynonna, 57. The mother-daughter group — who are set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, May 1 — were known for their hits “Love Can Build a Bridge,” “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me” and “Grandpa.”
Naomi — born Diana Ellen Judd — worked as a nurse in Nashville when she and Wynonna began singing together professionally. They won their first Grammy in 1984 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or a Group.
“Wynonna and I both said the same thing [when we won], that it felt like we were in a car crash [because] it happened so fast. It was life-changing,” the River of Time author told Entertainment Tonight in March 2021. “I got up out of my seat like, ‘Uh, oh, they made a mistake.’”
Naomi — who is survived by husband Larry Strickland and their two daughters — started making music with Wynonna in 1983. The band called it quits in 1991 after the late musician was diagnosed with hepatitis. They were set to reunite late this year for a new live tour.
Naomi had previously been outspoken about her battle with severe depression.
“I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get outta my pajamas, not practice normal hygiene,” the late Grammy winner said during a December 2016 appearance on Good Morning America. “My hands shake really bad … medication, nothing I can do about it. And my face, I feel like a balloon. My face is all swollen because of the medication. I really haven’t been eating ice cream and candy, I really haven’t!”
She added: “What I’ve been through is extreme [and] it was so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening. … I have processed and worked so hard for these last four years.”