Naomi Judd, who shot to fame alongside her daughter Wynonna as one-half of the mother-daughter country duo the Judds, has died at the age of 76.
Bloomberg News reports that Wynonna and her sister, actor Ashley Judd, broke the news of their mother’s death in a statement to the Associated Press on Saturday (April 30).
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement reads. “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.”
The statement did not elaborate as to Judd’s cause of death.
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Ky., on Jan. 11, 1946. She would go on to rise to the top of the music business after fighting her way through poverty and raising her two daughters as a single mother.
The Judds shot to fame beginning with the release of their debut single, “Had a Dream (For the Heart),” in 1983. Their second single, “Mama He’s Crazy,” gave them their first of 14 No. 1 hits, and they would go on to become one of the most successful and awarded country acts of all time.
Naomi Judd walked away from their career at the height of their success, stunning the industry when she revealed she had contracted Hepatitis C, forcing her to retire from the Judds and her music career to deal with the potentially fatal side effects of the disease, which affects the liver.
Wynonna Judd continued into a successful solo career, but that did not prove to be the end of the line for the Judds. They reunited for the Power to Change Tour in 2000, and again in 2010 for what they said would be their final tour, the Last Encore Tour.
The Judds were slated to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday (May 1). The duo had announced their Final Tour in early April; they were slated to hit the road on Sept. 30 in Grand Rapids and wrap a month later in Nashville, playing arenas along the way, with opening act Martina McBride.
Naomi and Wynonna Judd gave what would prove their final public performance as the Judds on April 11, 2022, performing a powerful, soaring version of “Love Can Build a Bridge” at the 2022 CMT Music Awards.
Per the duo’s publicist, Naomi Judd’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, will not be making any further statements.
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