Naomi Judd, who rose to fame alongside daughter Wynonna as Grammy-winning country duo The Judds, has died at the age of 76.
Wynonna and her sister, actor Ashley Judd, reportedly broke the news of their mother’s death in a statement to the Associated Press on Saturday.
“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.
In 2017, she said in a TV interview that she had been suffering from extreme and severe depression. In the interview, she said: “I went into this deep, dark absolutely terrifying hole and I couldn’t get out.”
She also admitted that she had sought out a bridge near her family’s farm to jump from, saying: “That’s how bad it can get. It’s hard to describe. You go down this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think that there’s another minute.”
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Kentucky, on 11 January 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 found fame 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 number 1 hits and they would go on to become one of the most successful and awarded country acts of all time.
The Judds were due to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame today (Sunday 1 May) before hitting the road for their final tour in September. The tour was scheduled to end a month later at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, with Martina McBride appearing as their opening act.
Country music stars including Travis Tritt, Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw have paid tribute on social media.