Naomi Judd 1946 – 2022
The vocalist of the country duo The Judds, alongside her daughter Wynonna, was 76.
Wynonna and Ashley Judd shared the statement below regarding their mother’s death:
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.
Naomi Judd’s publicist issued a statement to Variety on behalf of Naomi Judd’s widow Larry Strickland indicating he would not be making any further comments and, “no additional information will be released at this time.”
The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2021. The mother-daughter duo will be honored at a Medallion Ceremony held tonight, May 1. Wynonna is expected to attend the event in Nashville.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds,” said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young. “Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with the Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.”
Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky. Naomi and her first husband, Michael Ciminella, had two daughters Christina (Wynonna) and Ashley. The couple divorced in 1972, four years after relocating to Los Angeles.
After moving to several different locations, Naomi, Wynonna and Ashley eventually settled in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. Soon, Naomi and Wynonna were performing as The Judds, and in 1980 appeared on The Ralph Emery Show. While working as a nurse, Naomi’s chance encounter with the child of a local record producer eventually led to The Judds signing a recording contract with Curb Records, who brought the duo to RCA Nashville in 1983.
Between 1983 and 1991 The Judds released six studio albums, becoming one of the most successful groups of the era. During this time, 14 of The Judds’ songs topped the Billboard Country Singles chart, while the group also earned five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Among The Judds’ chart-topping hit songs were their second single, “Mama He’s Crazy,” as well as “Why Not Me,” “Girls’ Night Out,” “Love Is Alive,” “Have Mercy,” “Rockin’ with the Rhythm,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” “Rockin’ with the Rhythm of the Rain,” “Cry Myself to Sleep,” “I Know Where I’m Going,” “Maybe Your Baby’s Got the Blues,” “Turn It Loose,” “Change of Heart,” “Young Love (Strong Love)” and “Let Me Tell You About Love.”
Shortly after the release of their sixth LP, 1990’s Love Can Build a Bridge, Naomi announced she was stepping away from performing due to contracting hepatitis C. The Judds performed a final time on December 4, 1991. Wynonna went on to establish a successful solo career, releasing her successful debut solo album, Wynonna in 1992. Ashley Judd would soon follow with a successful acting career, starring in feature films and on television.
The Judds reunited sporadically over the subsequent decades. The Judds reformed in 2011 for the Last Encore Tour. In 2016, Naomi discussed dealing with depression in the years after the last tour.
In April 2022, The Judds announced The Final Tour, a run of 10 concerts that was set to begin in late September 2022.