Naomi Judd, 76, was a member of the Grammy-winning country singing duet The Judds.
In a statement released on Saturday, Judd’s daughters, country singer Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd, confirmed the artist’s death. “We had a tragedy today as sisters. We had to say goodbye to our lovely mother due to a mental illness “In a statement, they said. “We’re completely shattered. We’re dealing with a lot of loss right now, but we know that as much as we loved her, so did the rest of the world.
Naomi Judd recorded and performed as one of the most successful mother-daughter acts in country music as a part of The Judds with her daughter Wynonna before the group disbanded in the early 1990s. The Judds’ singles included “Mama He’s Crazy,” which won the group their first Grammy Award, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” and “Love Can Build a Bridge,” all of which were released between 1984 and 1990.
The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year and are expected to be enshrined on Sunday. The band also recently announced a farewell tour, which will kick off in September. In a statement announcing the tour, Judd noted, “The fans have always been my family of choice.” “I adore them, so I’m salivating at the prospect of belting out our tunes and reuniting with them.”
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Kentucky, on January 11, 1946, and gave birth to Wynonna the week before she graduated from high school. She relocated to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, according to a 1984 New York Times story at the start of The Judds’ rise, where she worked as a model and a secretary before returning to Kentucky with Wynonna and her second daughter, Ashley. She and Wynonna began singing together informally at that point.
“I think it was a natural progression of Mom hearing my voice and humming along,” Wynonna Judd said Scott Simon in 2010. “All of a sudden, before I know what’s going on, she has attached herself vocally to me, and it’s as if it we’re one voice.”
In 1979, the family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where Naomi and Wynonna sought careers in music. In a 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Judd recalled, “We moved into a motel and all of us slept in the same bed and ate bologna and crackers.” Judd and her daughter eventually earned a deal with RCA Records, and their debut EP Wynonna & Naomi was issued in 1984. The Judds swiftly came to prominence in country music thanks to their strong mother-daughter bond, stunning red hair, and harmonizing vocals. Between 1984 and 1991, the band released six studio albums, collecting 20 Top Ten songs, five Grammy Honors, and nine Country Music Association awards.
After Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C in the 1990s, the Judds stopped touring and Wynonna started a solo career. “All the doctors told I’d die in three years, and that was in 1990,” Judd stated in 2010. “I told them I wasn’t going to pass away. I’m in great shape, feeling vibrant and energetic.”
In the years thereafter, the couple has reunited and performed on occasion, most notably at the 2022 CMT Awards, where they played “Love Can Build A Bridge.” When Naomi Judd wasn’t performing with her daughter, she started writing and publishing self-help and children’s books, including her biography River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope.