Naomi Judd, the longtime country music singer who unexpectedly passed away at 76 years old just one day before she was set to be inducted Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, reportedly died by suicide.
According to new reports published on Monday afternoon, the iconic singer — who was one-half of the mother-daughter duo The Judds — died by suicide on Saturday. Naomi had very publicly battled mental illness and spoken openly about fighting valiantly for her mental health in the years prior to her tragic death.
Multiple sources have confirmed with People that the beloved veteran performer “took her own life on Saturday following a longtime battle with mental illness.” And while the late singer’s team did not confirm any of the specifics surrounding the tragedy, Naomi’s rep did release a very brief statement on Monday to Fox News Digital, sharing (below):
“There is an investigation by law enforcement and the coroner’s office.”
As we previously reported, Judd had been slated for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Tennessee capital city on Sunday, 24 hours after her awful passing. In Naomi’s place, daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd took to the stage in an emotional tribute and acceptance of the honor on their late mother’s behalf on Sunday night.
Just a day before, the sisters had shared their unfathomable and unexpected grief in a statement to the public about Naomi’s death, writing via social media outlets:
“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.”
An additional statement was released by Larry Strickland, Naomi’s husband of 32 years, which read:
“Naomi Judd’s family requests privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
Throughout her life, Naomi was outspoken and authentic about her own mental wellness. Over time, she became a strong advocate for the mental health of those around her, too.
During Mental Health Awareness Week back in 2018, Naomi wrote an open letter about suicide that was published by People. In it, the musician wrote in part:
“For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don’t have very good answers. We do know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.”
And she continued on later in the open letter:
“To understand this issue better, we have to bring the study of suicide into mainstream neuroscience and treat the condition like every other brain disorder. People who commit suicide are experiencing problems with mood, impulse control and aggression, all of which involve discrete circuits in the brain that regulate these aspects of human experience, but we still don’t understand how these circuits go haywire in the brains of suicide victims.”
So chilling — and so heartbreaking when taken with this weekend’s unexpected tragedy.
We continue to send our love and condolences to Naomi’s family, friends, and loved ones — and especially to Wynonna and Ashley — as they grapple with this heartbreaking loss.
[Image via YouTube]