Country Star Naomi Judd Dead at 76

Naomi Judd has died, her daughters Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd announced on April 30. The country star was 76.

By Corinne Heller Apr 30, 2022 8:25 PMTags
Watch: Naomi Judd Dead at 76: Country Stars Pay Tribute

The country music world has lost an icon.

Naomi Judd, part of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds, has died. She was 76. Her daughters Wynonna Judd, 57—her singing partner, and actress Ashley Judd, 54, announced her death on April 30.

"Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," read the siblings' statement, which was posted on Ashley's social media. "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."

Naomi is also survived by her husband, Larry Strickland, a fellow singer who used to sing backup for Elvis Presley. The two were set to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary next week.

Naomi died one day before The Judds were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1. On April 11, the duo announced they plan to begin a final tour in September, which would've marked their first concert series since 2011. Also that day, The Judds performed onstage at the 2022 CMT Music Awards.

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Naomi had been open about her personal struggles. After finishing the Judds' last tour in 2011, she began a three-year battle with severe treatment resistant depression and anxiety. She wrote about her ordeal in her 2016 memoir, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope

Naomi was born in Kentucky and worked as an ICU nurse— a career she was inspired to pursue after the death of her brother at age 17 from Hodgkin's lymphoma. She began her music career in the '80s and The Judds won five Grammys for their hits "Mama He's Crazy," "Why Not Me," "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)," "Give A Little Love" and "Love Can Build A Bridge."

In 1990, Naomi announced her retirement, revealing that she had been being diagnosed with Hepatitis C, which she contracted from an infected needle during her time at work as a nurse.

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"When I was told I had Hepatitis C, I was on top of the world, selling out arenas," she said at an event at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey in 2016, according to The Daily Record newspaper in Morris County, NJ. "Then I was told I had three stinkin' years to live."

In a 2014 Everyday Health essay, she revealed that a doctor proclaimed her cured of Hepatitis C in 1995.

"I remember being in a hotel in New York City with my actress daughter Ashley when I received the call," she wrote. "When [the doctor] told me I was completely free of the virus Ashley and I began to cry and there was even a catch in his voice. Ashley and I walked down the street in New York City to Saint Patrick's Cathedral where we thanked God for such a miraculous cure."

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