Just over two weeks ago making an appearance at the annual Country Music Television Awards, Naomi and Wynona Judd announced a Judds farewell tour set to begin this fall.  On April 30, the family has announced that matriarch Naomi has died at the age of 76 near Nashville, Tennessee.  In a release issued by daughters Wynona and Ashely, mental illness was listed as the cause of death.

While no further details on the death were given, Judd was open about her struggles with severe depression and anxiety.

Naomi formed the Country music duo The Judds with daughter Wynona – daughter Ashely is an actress – in the eighties.  Over the next 10 years the duo had 20 top 10 hits –14 of which reached number one, five Grammy Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, nine Country Music Association Awards, and sold over 20 million albums.  In 1994 The Judds, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, and Tanya Tucker performed the halftime show for the Super Bowl.  The Judds had just been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last week.

A diagnosis of Hepatitis C – unknowingly contracted while she was working as a nurse – for Naomi brought a halt to the recording and live performances on a regular basis; however, there were a number of one off appearances over the years.  Having recently come back together after over 20 years, The Judds gave a moving performance during the concert filled CMT Awards only a few weeks ago.  What started out as a celebration of music has turned into the duo’s final performance.

She was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946 in Ashland, Kentucky.  She was the single mother of two and a nurse when Naomi and daughter Wynona formed the hit making Country duo The Judds.

While best known for her singing with daughter Wynona, Naomi also dabbled in acting like daughter Ashley.  Naomi made her acting debut in 1979 as a girl on the bus in “More American Graffiti”.  She also made appearances in “Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr Story”, “Rio Diablo”, “Sisters”, an episode of “The Client”, an episode of “3rd Rock form the Sun”, the voice of an understanding angel in the “Littlest Angel’s Easter”, “Family Tree”, “A Holiday Romance”, “Touched by an Angel”, “Someone Like You”, “Maybe It’s Me”, “Frasier”, “Higglytown Heroes”, “The Killing Game”, “Nearlyweds”, “Window Wonderland”, “An Evergreen Christmas”, and her final television appearance in 2021 as Catherine Landry in “V.C. Andrews’ Landry Family”.

Naomi is survived by her second husband Larry – the two had been married for 32 years, daughters Wynona and Ashley, and grandchildren Grace and Elijah.

feature photo credit: Naomi Judd AHA.jpg