Naomi Judd died on Saturday April 30 at the age of 76. The country music icon, who came from humble beginnings in Kentucky, rose to fame in the ’80s as part of the mother/daughter duo The Judds alongside her firstborn Wynonna Judd. Wynonna and Naomi’s other daughter Ashley Judd released a statement on the heartbreaking news.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our mother-in-law to mental illness,” the statement read. “We are broken. We navigate deep mourning and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her audience. We are in uncharted territory. At this time, the cause of death has not yet been reported.
Naomi and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. The honor follows the duo’s announcement of a tour to begin in the fall, The Judds’ first tour in over a decade. And last month, they did their first major awards show in over two decades, performing at the CMT Music Awards.
During their illustrious career together, Naomi and Wynonna scored fourteen No. 1 songs and won five Grammy awards, including Best Country Song for the Naomi-penned hit “Love Can Build a Bridge.” They also found radio favor with “Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Grandpa” in 1986 and “Turn It Loose” in 1988. The duo eventually broke up in 1991 due to concerns about Naomi’s hepatitis C. diagnostic.
Naomi would eventually thrive in her post-Judds career. She ended up with a Hallmark Channel TV show called Naomi’s New Morning which ran for two seasons, wrote a memoir titled River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope and other self-help books, starred in films such as Lifetime’s The killing game and began making rare appearances on the country music scene.
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