The entertainment world is in mourning amid news that Grammy Award-winning country music legend Naomi Judd has died, a sad development that was announced by the musician’s daughters, Ashley and Wynonna, on Saturday, as Fox News reports.
In telling the world of their family’s devastation, the pair issued a statement that read, “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. We are in unknown territory.”
Born in Ashland, Kentucky, Diana Ellen Judd – later to become known as Naomi Judd – spent many years as a single mother working as a nurse before gaining fame as part of a singing duo together with daughter Wynonna.
The pair went on to notch an impressive 14 number-one hits over a career spread across roughly thirty years, as the Associated Press noted, with the mother-daughter act winding down in 1991 when Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C.
Though no details about the precise circumstances of Judd’s passing were released, the songstress herself had been very open in recent years about her personal struggles with depression and mental illness, even telling the Today Show in 2017 that at one point, she looked for bridges near her home from which she might jump to end her life.
“That’s how bad it can get. It’s hard to describe,” said Judd at the time. “You go down this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think that there’s another minute.”
News of Judd’s death came just one day before she and her daughter Wynonna were scheduled to appear at their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, a ceremony the younger member of the celebrated pair reportedly still plans to attend in tribute to her mother.
“Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news,” said Kyle Young of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so with heavy hearts and weighted minds,” he added.
Echoing the sentiments of millions of heartbroken fans upon learning of Judd’s death, country music stars Ty Herndon and Carrie Underwood declared the celebrated singer “irreplaceable” and a “true legend,” respectively, making it abundantly clear that the musical legacy she leaves behind is one that is certain to endure.