IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Naomi Judd’s family speaks out after cause of death is confirmed

“We have always shared openly both the joys of being family as well its sorrows, too. One part of our story is that our matriarch was dogged by an unfair foe,” the family said, in part.
/ Source: TODAY

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

Naomi Judd’s family is expressing their sorrow as the singer’s cause of death was confirmed in an autopsy report obtained by NBC News on Friday. The 76-year-old country music star killed herself using a gun on April 30, confirming what her daughter, Ashley Judd, previously shared.

“We have always shared openly both the joys of being family as well its sorrows, too. One part of our story is that our matriarch was dogged by an unfair foe,” the family said in a statement to The Associated Press on Friday. “She was treated for PTSD and bipolar disorder, to which millions of Americans can relate.”

The autopsy also revealed that Naomi's body was discovered by family and that she had left behind a note. The coroner also noted that the late singer had a medical history of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and suicidal ideations.

Naomi — who performed alongside daughter Wynonna Judd in the country music duo The Judds — died one day before she was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley and Wynonna confirmed their mother’s death in a statement to TODAY on April 30, stating, “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 statement added.

Despite their heartbreak, the sisters asked that The Judds Country Music Hall of Fame Induction proceed. Both of them tearfully accepted the honor, with Ashley saying in her speech, “My momma loved you so much, and she appreciated your love for her and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.”

“Your esteem for her and regard for her really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last few years,” the actor added.

Wynonna Judd, Ashley Judd
Wynonna Judd, left, looks to the sky as sister Ashley Judd watches during the Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall Of Fame Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP)Wade Payne / Invision

Weeks before her death, The Judds performed “Love Can Build a Bridge” at the 2022 CMT Awards and announced their 10-stop tour, “The Final Tour.” Wynonna later shared that she would continue with the tour as a way to pay homage to her mother.

Both Ashley and Wynonna have spoken about their grief and losing their mother to suicide. 

For many years, Naomi had been open about her struggle with mental illness, sharing details in her 2016 memoir, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” She described the book as a “survivor’s manual about how to survive depression and anxiety.”

She described falling into a “dark hole of depression” in 2011 that came “out of nowhere.”

“I didn’t get off my couch for two years,” revealed Judd. “I was so depressed that I couldn’t move. ... My husband (Larry Strickland) and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom. ... You become immobilized.”

In 2017, Naomi told TODAY that she first experienced severe depression in 2011.

“I didn’t get off my couch for two years,” she told Savannah Guthrie at the time. “I was so depressed that I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t even brush my teeth. I wouldn’t get out of my pjs.”

“My husband and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom,” she continued. “You become immobilized.”