Updated April 30, 2022 5:56 PM ET
Naomi Judd, member of Grammy-winning country music duo The Judds, has died aged 76.
Judd’s daughters, country singer Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd, have confirmed the artist’s death in a report the Saturday. “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our mother-in-law to mental illness,” they wrote in a statement. “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.
As a member of The Judds with her daughter Wynonna, Naomi Judd recorded and performed as one of country music’s most successful mother-daughter bands before the group ceased performing in the early 1990s. Judds hits include 1984’s “Mama He’s Crazy,” which won the group their first Grammy Award, 1985’s “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” and 1990’s “Love Can Build a Bridge.”
Last year the Judds were announcement as inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and were due to be inducted on Sunday. The group had also recently announced a final tour, should start in September. “The fans have always been my family of choice,” Judd said in A declaration announcing the tour. “I love them so much, so I can’t wait to sing our hits and reconnect with them once again.”
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946 in Ashland, Ky. and gave birth to Wynonna the week she graduated from high school. She moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, the New York Times reported in a 1984 profile during the early rise of the Judds, where she worked as a model and secretary before bringing Wynonna and her other daughter, Ashley, back to Kentucky. That’s when she and Wynonna casually started singing together.
“I think it was a natural progression of mom hearing my voice and humming,” Wynonna Judd Told Scott Simon of NPR in 2010. “All of a sudden, before I knew what was going on, she got vocally attached to me, and it’s like we’re one voice.”
The family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1979 and Naomi and Wynonna pursued music careers. “We moved into a motel, and we all slept in the same bed and ate bologna and crackers,” Judd mentioned in a 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal. Judd and his daughter eventually signed a deal with RCA Records and in 1984 released their first EP. Wynonna and Naomi. With their strong mother-daughter bond, striking red hair, and harmonious vocals, the Judds quickly rose to country music fame. The group went on to release six studio albums between 1984 and 1991, earning 20 Top Ten hits, five Grammy Awards and nine Country Music Association awards.
The Judds stopped performing in the 1990s after Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C and Wynonna pursued a solo career. “The doctors all said I was going to die in three years, and that was 1990,” Judd told NPR in 2010. “I told them I wasn’t going to give up. healthy, alive and radiant.
The duo continued to reunite and perform occasionally in the years that followed, including more recently at the 2022 CMT Awards where they performed “Love Can Build A Bridge”. Later, when she couldn’t reunite with her daughter to perform, Naomi Judd began writing and publishing self-help books and children’s books, including her memoir. River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.