Naomi Judd Died by Suicide After Longtime Struggle with Mental Health

Multiple sources have confirmed that on Saturday, at the age of 76, Naomi Judd, a legendary figure in country music and half of the mother-daughter duo The Judds, took her own life due to a long-standing struggle with mental illness. The singer’s representative has remained silent.

Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd, Naomi’s daughters, released a statement announcing their mother’s death.

“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,” the statement read. “We are in unknown territory.”

Naomi Judd Was Suffering From a Mental Illness

Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, released a second statement which read: “Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”

For Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018, Naomi, a longtime supporter of mental health, wrote an open letter.

“For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don’t have very good answers,” wrote the musician. “We know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.”

naomi judd illness
naomi judd illness

“To understand this issue better, we have to bring the study of suicide into mainstream neuroscience and treat the condition like every other brain disorder,” continued the note. “People who commit suicide are experiencing problems with mood, impulse control, and aggression, all of which involve discrete circuits in the brain that regulate these aspects of human experience, but we still don’t understand how these circuits go haywire in the brains of suicide victims.”

In her 2016 book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerge with Hope, the country singer also discussed her struggles with suicidal depression.

Naomi stated, “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.”

As The Judds, mother and daughter duo Naomi and Wynonna, now both in their ’50s, have had 14 number one singles over the course of their careers, including ‘Mama He’s Crazy,’ ‘Why Not Me,’ ‘Turn It Loose,’ ‘Change of Heart,’ and ‘Let Me Tell You About Love.’ In addition to their seven ACM Awards, they took home nine CMA Awards and five Grammys.

When doctors discovered that Naomi had contracted hepatitis C while working as a nurse, the duo called it quits in 1991. They made their first television appearance in 20 years earlier this month on the stage of the CMT Music Awards show.

With the help of a gospel choir, the duo performed their 1990 hit “Love Can Build a Bridge,” bringing each other closer by the end.

Recently, the family act announced their first tour in over a decade, appropriately titled The Final Tour. The nearly sold-out 10-city arena tour was set to start on September 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and end on October 28 in Nashville.


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A post shared by Ashley Judd (@ashley_judd)

The Judds celebrated their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville on Sunday. Wynonna was there to accept the honor and gave a tearful but poised speech.

Wynonna Judd told the audience of 800 in Nashville’s CMA Theater that she felt “so blessed” even though her heart was broken.

The night’s host and CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Kyle Young, spoke about the performers’ family bond and the recently publicized strife in their relationship.

“We can’t ever know all their struggles, but we know all their songs,” he said. “Their stories have been well documented, Naomi and Wynonna, a mother and daughter, forced together and forged together. It’s all complicated — and it all emerged in beauty and triumph.”

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