Naomi Judd, a country music legend who died on April 30 at the age of 75, died of a self-inflicted handgun wound, according to her daughter, Ashley Judd.
Ashley Judd spoke with Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” about her mother’s passing and how
the Judd family has been dealing in the weeks afterward. Her family, she added, wanted to keep the flow of information about the death under control before an autopsy was performed.
Ashley told Sawyer, “She used a weapon…my mother used a firearm.” “So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it someone else is going to.”
“Because we don’t want it to be part of the gossip economy I will share with you that she used a weapon; my mother used a firearm,” said Ashley, 54. “So that’s the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”
Ashley added that Naomi, who was 76 years old when she died, “was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked home.”
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease,” she continued. “It’s very real … it lies, it’s savage.”
“Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” Ashley told Sawyer, 76, on Thursday’s GMA. “That is the level of the catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing.”
The lineup for Naomi Judd’s memorial service on Sunday has been released, with Robin Roberts presiding and Brandi Carlile, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, the Gaithers, Emmylou Harris, and Allison Russell performing in her honor.
CMT will broadcast the memorial live and commercial-free on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, with a repeat at 10 p.m.
Naomi’s last performance, a pre-taped rendition of “Love Can Build a Bridge” with Wynonna Judd filmed earlier in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, was shown at the CMT Music Awards program on April 11. Before the live transmission, the Judds strolled the red carpet together.
Although Ashley and Wynonna’s statement released hours after their mother’s death attributed it to “the disease of mental illness,” and the senior Judd had written candidly in her memoirs about dealing with what she described as lifelong, sometimes crippling depression, authorities and Judd’s family have yet to give an official cause of death for the singer.
The Country Music Hall of Fame medallion ceremony on May 1 in Nashville served as a kind of pre-memorial service for Naomi, who passed away only a day before she and Wynonna were inducted as a duet into the hall. Both Ashley and Wynonna spoke at the event, which featured Ricky Skaggs’ ceremonial induction and musical tributes by Carly Pearce, Tommy Sims, Gillian Welch, and David Rawlings. Brandi Carlile, who was supposed to serenade the Judds at the medallion ceremony but had to cancel due to a COVID diagnosis, provided a performance on her social media accounts. The fame medallion ceremony in Nashville on May 1 was a success.