Published On: Sat, Apr 30th, 2022

Naomi Judd, of Grammy-winning duo The Judds, dies at 76


Country music singer Naomi Judd, of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds, died at the age of 76.

Her daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd announced the death in a statement on Saturday.

“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.”

Image: Wynonna, Ashley and Naomi Judd
From left, Wynonna, Ashley and Naomi Judd attend the screening of the movie “Double Jeopardy” at the Guild 50th St. Theater, on Sept. 23, 1999, in New York City. Ashley stars in the film.Richard Corkery / NY Daily News via Getty Images file

Further details were not immediately available.

Naomi has been open about her battles with severe depression and mental illness, saying in a 2017 essay for NBC News that at a point she struggled for years to do everyday tasks such as brushing her teeth and leaving her house. 

“I used say to myself, looking in the mirror, ‘I’m Naomi freaking Judd. I got this.’ I even wrote it out and taped it there. But when the problem is your brain, when the problem involves the way that you’re thinking and the way you’re living every day of your life, you can’t pull that off anymore,” she wrote.

Naomi said her daughters and husband helped get her through that difficult time.

The Judds, composed of Naomi and Wynonna, were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. Earlier this month, they announced that they were hitting the road for “The Final Tour.” It would have been their first tour together in over a decade.

The mother-daughter performers scored 14 No. 1 songs in a career that spanned nearly three decades. After rising to the top of country music, they called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis.

The Judds’ hits included “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1990,“Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Why Not Me” in 1984,“Turn It Loose” in 1988, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” in 1986 and “Grandpa” in 1986.

Originally from Kentucky, Naomi was working as a nurse when she and Wynonna started singing together professionally. Their unique harmonies, together with elements of acoustic music, bluegrass and blues, made them stand out in the genre at the time.

The Judds released six studio albums and an EP between 1984 and 1991 and won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music. They earned a total of five Grammy Awards together on hits like “Why Not Me” and “Give A Little Love.”

The Judds Perform Onstage
Country music duo the Judds, with Wynonna Judd, left, and her mother Naomi, perform onstage at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Ill., Feb. 1, 1991.Paul Natkin / Getty Images file

The Judds sang about family, the belief in marriage and the virtue of fidelity. The two were often mistaken for sisters early in their career.

Daughter Ashley Judd is an actor known for her roles in such movies as “Kiss the Girls,” ″Double Jeopardy” and “Heat.”

Naomi Judd is also survived by her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland, who was a backup singer for Elvis Presley.

Singer Travis Tritt said he was heartbroken by the news of Naomi’s death.

“Naomi Judd was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. I had the honor of working with her in movies and numerous musical events,” he tweeted. “My deepest heartfelt condolences go out to her family.”

Singer Amanda Shires tweeted: “Deepest sympathies @AshleyJudd and @Wynonna, Rest easy, Naomi Judd.”





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