The Judds’ Naomi Judd Dead at 76

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Naomi Judd has died. She was 76 years old.

The cause of death was not given, other than a reference to “mental illness.”

The Kentucky-born singer and member of the Grammy Award-winning duo The Judds was the mother of stars Wynonna and Ashley Judd.

Naomi’s daughters announced the news of their mother’s death on Saturday (April 30). The daughters provided the statement to The Associated Press.

In the statement, they said, “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 Judds are also slated to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday (May 1).

Together, the mother and daughter performers notched 14 No. 1 hit songs in careers that have covered some three decades. After their rise to the top of the country charts, Naomi had to bow out of the spotlight after doctors diagnosed her with hepatitis.

Hits from The Judds include the 1990 song “Love Can Build a Bridge,” the 1984 song “Mama He’s Crazy,” the 1988 song “Turn It Loose,” and many more.

Originally from Kentucky, Naomi worked as a nurse when she and her daughter Wynonna began to sing together professionally. Their harmonies were beloved, especially when combined with acoustic music and bluegrass. They were standouts.

The Judds released six studio albums and an EP from 1984 to 1991 and won nine CMA Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music. The group also earned five Grammy Awards.

Together, they sang about family, marriage, and the virtue of parents sticking together.

Naomi is survived by her husband (and fellow singer), Larry Strickland, who was backup singer years prior for Elvis Presley.

Earlier this month the mother-daughter duo announced a return to the road for the first time in more than a decade for The Final Tour. The 10-show run was set to kick off on Sept. 30, in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Van Andel Arena and would run through Oct. 28 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

“What I’m looking forward to most is celebrating Judd music with the fans,” Wynonna previously said in a statement about the reunion tour. “Mom and I have had quite the journey over the last 38 years, and the fans have been with us through it all. This tour is a celebration for them.” 

Noami Judd (Photo Photo: CMT)

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