Naomi Judd, the country music star and half of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds, has died at age 76 after a battle with mental illness.
Her daughter, actress Ashley Judd, announced her mother’s death in an Instagram statement Saturday, saying she and her sister Wynonna were “broken” by the news.
“Today we sisters experience a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to mental illness. We are devastated,” she wrote.
“We are navigating deep pain and we know that as we loved her, she was loved by her audience.
“We are in uncharted territory.”
Naomi’s husband Larry Strickland, who was Elvis Presley’s backing singer, said The Associated Press that his wife had died near Nashville, Tennessee, while he was asking his family for privacy at this time.
No further details are known about the 76-year-old singer’s death, which comes just a day before she is inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and a few months before she takes the stage again later this year. .
The Judds, formed by Naomi and her daughter Wynonna, announced earlier this year that they were embarking on a 10-date “Final Tour” starting in September.
The duo were also inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Just two weeks ago, they got together for their first TV performance in over two decades to sing their classic ’90s hit “Love Can Build a Bridge” at the CMT Music Awards.
As news of Naomi’s death broke, tributes began to surface on social media, with Grammy Award-winning artist Travis Tritt calling the news “heartbreaking”.
“This is heartbreaking news! Naomi Judd was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” he tweeted.
“I have had the honor of working with her on films and countless musical events. My deepest condolences go out to her family.”
Maren Morris also paid tribute to the country music star, remembering his last performance before his death.
“Honored to have witnessed ‘Love Can Build a Bridge’ just a few weeks ago,” the singer wrote.
“I am very sad to hear that Naomi Judd has passed away. Rest in peace. Sending love and light to Ashley and Wynonna and everyone who loves her,” Rosanna Arquette wrote on Twitter.
In 2017, Naomi spoke about her battle with mental illness and how her depression often left her feeling “immobilized”.
“I haven’t gotten off my couch for two years,” she told NBC’s Today exhibition.
“I was so depressed I couldn’t move… It’s hard to describe. You go down into this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think it’s been a minute longer.”
Born in Kentucky, Naomi started out as a nurse before she and Wynonna began performing together as The Judds in the early 1980s.
They have won five Grammy Awards and had 14 number-one songs, including popular country music hits “Mama He’s Crazy” and “Why Not Me”.
After three decades of performing, the mother-daughter group came out of the spotlight in 1991 when Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis.
In 2011, they returned with a Farewell Tour before reuniting earlier this month at the CMT Music Awards.
Naomi is survived by her two daughters and 32-year-old husband.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, Samaritans offer support; you can talk to someone free of charge by phone, confidentially, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch.
If you live in the US and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free and confidential emergency hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.