Naomi Judd passed away 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 first-born child Wynonna Judd. Wynonna and Naomi’s other daughter Ashley Judd released a statement about the heartbreaking news.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement read. “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.” As this time, the cause of death has yet to be reported.
Naomi and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. The honor comes on the heels of the duo announcing a tour to begin in the fall, the first tour for The Judds in over a decade. And last month, they made their first major awards show performance in over two decades, playing at the CMT Music Awards.
During their illustrious career together, Naomi and Wynonna scored fourteen No.1 songs and would go on to win five Grammy awards, including Best Country Song for the Naomi-penned hit “Love Can Build a Bridge.” They also found favor on the radio with “Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Grandpa” in 1986 and “Turn It Loose” in 1988. The duo eventually split in 1991 over concerns for Naomi’s Hepatitis C diagnosis.
Naomi would end up thriving in her post-Judds career. She ended up with a Hallmark Channel TV show called Naomi’s New Morning which lasted for two seasons, wrote a memoir called River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope and other self-help books, acted in such movies as Lifetime’s The Killing Game and began to make rare appearances back on the country music stage.
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