Country music legend and outspoken Christian Naomi Judd died Saturday at age 76. In a statement, her daughters Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd revealed they had “lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness” and were “shattered.”
Naomi Judd died just one day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The duo, who sang together as The Judds, won five Grammys before ending their act in 1991.
Naomi Judd: ‘God Holds My World Together’
The Judds, who had a 10-date final tour planned for this fall, split after Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C. After that, she struggled with mental illness, telling CBN in 2018 that she became suicidal.
“I’m certainly not ashamed to say that I was on some anti-depressant medications,” she said. “I believe there are times in life where we have to raise our hand and say I need help.” Judd added, “I believe in God, and I’ve gotten through all this stuff because of those three things: my faith, my hope, and my belief in an eternal God.”
In 2005, when she was hosting a talk show, Naomi Judd was asked about her ideal guest. “It would definitely be Jesus Christ,” she told Belief Net. “God holds my world together. It’s as simple as that.” She called herself a “super believer,” saying, “Everything that I consciously do is imbued with an awareness that there’s an invisible world.”
Naomi Judd’s 2016 book “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” chronicles some of her experiences with mental illness. Her husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, requested privacy “during this heartbreaking time.”
Daughter Ashley Judd: ‘I’m Sorry That She Couldn’t Hang On’
Sunday’s induction ceremony wasn’t televised, but The Tennessean described the tributes. Through tears, Ashley Judd told the audience, “I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.” Fans’ affection kept her mom going, she added.
Wynonna Judd, who said she hadn’t planned any remarks “because I knew Mom would probably talk the most,” said, “My heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.” Wynonna added that she’ll “continue to sing, because that’s what we do.”