LEGENDARY singer Naomi Judd passed away this weekend at age 76 and tributes from friends and family continue to roll in.
The country singer, half of the famous duo The Judds, battled with depression throughout most of her life.
Her daughter Ashley Judd has since written a tribute on Instagram that included a short video showing Naomi's husband, Larry Strickland, leading everyone in singing “How Great Thou Art” in tribute to his late wife.
“Congratulations and condolences are both in order. Just know that I will always love you.”
Read our Naomi Judd live blog for the very latest news and updates...
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.
‘Always a nurse’
A rare picture of the country star shared on Twitter shows Naomi Judd in a nursing uniform in 1998.
Judd studied nursing at California’s College of Marin before she became a superstar.
Ashley Judd’s recent accident, continued
Along with a series of pictures of the hospital nurses, videos of her trying to walk after surgery, and a snap of her dad, she shared a lengthy message: “Dear Friends, Ubuntu. I am because we are.
“I want to give my deepest and most vulnerable thanks to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, for making split-second decisions upon my arrival. I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse,” she revealed.
She concluded her lengthy post, saying: “I’m very thankful to all of the experts, including that expert pictured, my Pop, who is rubbing my foot to remind my foot while it still cannot move that it is connected to my body. I am up and around already.”
Ashley Judd’s recent accident
In April of last year, Ashley Judd revealed that she almost lost her leg after a terrible fall in the Congo rainforest.
She said her leg had “no pulse” and “desperately needed a blood transfusion” after a 55-hour rescue in Congo.
The actress said that she shattered her leg after falling over a tree.
Wynonna’s struggles with depression, continued
Wynonna also said that she has “thoughts all the time about how hard this life is.”
“When you live on a farm you think, ‘Oh, I could just jump in a lake,’” Wynonna said.
“But then I think I’ve got to stick around for my grandkids and make more music… A mentor once said to me, ‘Don’t leave until the miracle happens.’”
Wynonna’s struggles with depression
Naomi’s daughter and musical partner has also stated that she struggles with mental illness.
“I have thoughts where I say to myself, ‘This is too much,’ and then I call somebody,” she told Page Six.
“I literally will call somebody because I have been stuck in my sadness where I didn’t and we have to reach out and that’s been the hardest thing for me because I’m not good at asking for help.”
What did Naomi say about her depression?
The country singer wrote in her 2016 memoir that her depression was particularly bad after The Judds’ farewell tour in 2012.
“I never dealt with all the stuff that happened to me, so it came out sideways, as depression and anxiety,” Judd said in a 2017 essay for NBC News.
“Depression is partly genetic, and I have it on both sides of my family.”
Judd reportedly said that her lack of movement during her depression caused her muscles to atrophy, leading her to install an elevator in her home to help her move throughout the house.
Wynonna Judd said Naomi Judd passed away at 2.20 PM, and that she kissed her mother “on the forehead and walked away,” The Tennessean reported.
She also said the last act she, Ashley, and other family members did together was to pray the Bible’s 23rd Psalm.
Bill Anderson’s statement, continued
“I asked her to identify herself for the audience and she said, ‘My name is Naomi Judd and I am a nurse from Franklin, Tennessee. My daughter and I sing together, and someday we hope to make it in country music.'”
“I was looking so forward to recalling that moment with her on Sunday when she and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
“She was one of a kind and will certainly be missed.”
Bill Anderson issues statement
Country star Bill Anderson issued a statement, paying tribute to Naomi Judd:
“I am shocked and saddened along with the rest of our country music community over the passing of Naomi Judd,” he wrote.
“I’ll never forget meeting her for the first time when she was a contestant on a TV game show I was hosting.”
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares resources
As it has been revealed that Naomi Judd struggled with depression, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has shared several resources.
“As a society, we must do better to share hope, support those struggling and tell the stories of those with lived experience that show it’s possible to thrive,” the organization said in a tweet.
Judd family statement analyzed, continued
April Foreman, a member of the American Association of Suicidology, told USA Today: “They are a family grieving the loss of their mother and they don’t have an obligation to anybody to say anything.
“Some people may believe that it was likely that they’re referencing suicide and wish or want for the family to say things in a certain way, but it’s inappropriate for us to demand that.
“We can’t insist they carry the banner for all of us in their darkest moment. How you talk about the deaths that impact you is up to you. And how the Judd family talks about their mother’s death is up to them.”
Judd family statement analyzed
The family’s statement after Naomi Judd’s death was highly criticized on social media for its language, according to a USA Today article.
Given Naomi’s candor about her issues with depression and suicidal tendencies, many admirers believed the language was accurate while others chastised the statement for being too ambiguous.
While these emotions may be motivated by curiosity and even good intentions, mental health specialists argue that how a family communicates about the death of a loved one is a personal choice, and the Judd family should be spared criticism.
Carrie Underwood’s tribute, continued
“This next song goes out to everybody who has ever lost someone that they loved, which is everybody,” Underwood said before her emotional performance, according to Music Mayhem.
“I feel like that one of the few human experiences that we all share, but just because the people that we love are not here with us does not mean that they are not here with us and that does not mean that you will not see them again someday.
“If you guys are thinking about anybody, I want you to get your phones out, get a lighter out, anything that shines light, let’s light up this place in memory of all those that we miss.
“I know all of country music will be lighting something up for Ms. Naomi Judd.”
Carrie Underwood’s tribute
Country star Carrie Underwood wrote a message to honor Judd on social media saying, “Country music lost a true legend … sing with the angels, Naomi!!! We’re all sending up prayers for the Judd family today.”
During her headlining performance at Stagecoach festival on Saturday, Underwood dedicated her performance of the emotional song See You Again to Judd.
Maren Morris saw Naomi ‘just a few short weeks ago’
Fellow country singer Maren Morris voiced her condolences, saying she was honored to see Naomi weeks ago.
How old was Naomi Judd when she died?
Naomi Judd was born in 1946.
She was 76 when she passed away.
What was Naomi’s cause of death?
In the statement released to The Associated Press, Wynonna and Ashley Judd wrote: “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.”
“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 two daughters said.
The details of Naomi’s cause of death are unclear at this time.
Ashley and Wynonna break down at induction
An emotional Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony took place on Sunday following Naomi Judd’s passing on April 30, 2022.
Daughters Ashley and Wynonna broke into tears as they emotionally accepted the induction.
“I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,” Ashley told the audience, The Associated Press reports.
Was Naomi Judd married?
Naomi Judd was married to Michael Ciminella from 1964 to 1972.
After they split, Naomi met Larry Strickland.
The two remained together until Naomi’s death in 2022.
What did Naomi say about her husband?
Naomi Judd told Closer Weekly that she had a lot in common with her husband, Larry Strickland.
“We come from common background. Larry and I are both from a family of six, very blue collar,” she told the outlet.
“He worked in the tobacco fields every summer. My daddy had his own gas station and taught me the hard work ethic.
“Larry is the most humble person I’ve ever met.”
Who is Larry Strickland?
He initially started singing gospel quartets traveling and performing in different places in North Carolina.
After he served in the US Army from 1966 to 1970, he came back to perform in his home state until he was noticed by JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet.
After Larry joined their group in 1974, he started touring with Elvis Presley.
He and Naomi Judd had been married since 1989.
‘Too old to grow up now’
“The fans have always been my family of choice,” Naomi Judd had said in a statement about the scheduled tour.
“I love them dearly, so I’m chompin’ at the bit to belt out our hits and reconnect with them once again.
“The cherry on top is singing with my beloved, wild, and extremely talented daughter… the best singer of any genre, Wynonna!
“She asked me if I was still going to twist, twirl and crack jokes. I answered, ’Heck yeah! I’m too old to grow up now!’”
Why did The Judds split?
The Judds actively made music from 1983 until 1991.
The two decided to split in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi Judd with hepatitis C.
The duo reunited regularly after splitting for performances throughout the years.
Carly Pearce honors The Judds
At the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 1, Carly Pearce honored The Judds with a touching rendition of their 1986 classic Grandpa (Tell Me About the Good Old Days).
Just one day after Naomi Judd’s death, the ceremony went on as scheduled in line with the family’s wishes, and Pearce’s music selection was at Wynonna Judd’s request, according to TasteOfCountry.com.
The Judds’ EP releases
Throughout their time active, The Judds managed to release two extended plays along with their six albums.
- Wynonna & Naomi
- Big Bang Boogie