Naomi Judd, country icon and Judds matriarch, dies at 76

The day before her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Naomi Judd died. She was 76 years old.

His daughters, Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd, shared a statement with TODAY confirming his death.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our mother-in-law to mental illness,” the statement read. “We are broken. We navigate deep mourning and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her audience. We are in uncharted territory.

The exact cause of death has not been shared.

“Entertainment icon Naomi Judd died on April 30, 2022 outside of Nashville,” her rep, Adkins Publicity, said TODAY in a statement. “Her husband, Larry Strickland, 32, will not be making any further statements. Naomi Judd’s family requests confidentiality during this heartbreaking time. No further information will be released at this time.”

Selling over 20 million albums, The Judds – made up of mother-daughter duo Naomi and Wynonna – are often celebrated for a rarely-broken streak of 14 number-one hits when each one released by RCA landed on the Billboard charts. Top 10 over three decades.

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd at the 20th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Knott’s Berry Farm.Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Asheland, Kentucky, her father owned a successful gas station and auto repair shop.

After having two daughters herself, she teamed up with her eldest, Wynonna, to become The Judds, discovered by RCA label executive Joe Galante in 1983 after landing a spot on WSM-TV’s “The Ralph​ ​Emery Show.”

Together, The Judds have 16 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums and long-running videos, led by two platinum albums “Why Not Me” and “The Judds Greatest Hits”.

Some of The Judds’ biggest hits include 1990’s “Love Can Build a Bridge”, 1984’s “Mama He’s Crazy”, 1984’s “Why Not Me”, 1988’s “Turn It Loose”, and 1985’s “Girls Night Out”. . .

Just a few weeks ago, The Judds announced a 10-date arena tour set to begin Friday, September 30, 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Martina McBride was scheduled to join as a special guest on select dates.

“The fans have always been my family of choice. I love them so much, so I eagerly sing our hits and reconnect with them once again. The icing on the cake is singing with my beloved, wild and extremely talented daughter… the best singer of all genres, Wynonna! She asked me if I was going to twist and twirl and joke again. I replied: ‘Heck yeah! I’m too old to grow now!'” Naomi said in a statement.

On TODAY in 2017, Naomi opened up about her struggle with depression.

“I haven’t gotten off my couch for two years,” she revealed. “I was so depressed I couldn’t move… My husband (Larry Strickland) and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock my bedroom door… You were becoming immobilized.

“That’s how bad it can get,” she added. “It’s hard to describe. You go down into this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think there’s a minute more.”

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