How did Naomi Judd die? 'The Judd' vocalist, 76, tallied 5 Grammys and 9 CMA Awards

How did Naomi Judd die? 'The Judd' vocalist, 76, tallied 5 Grammys and 9 CMA Awards
Naomi Judd founded the dynamic pair 'The Judd' with her daughter Wynonna (L of left picture) (@TyHerndoncom/Twitter and Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Grammy-winning country vocalist Naomi Judd, who founded the dynamic pair 'The Judd' along with her daughter Wynonna, died aged 76 on Saturday, April 30. The Judds had a number of successful singles in the 1980s and 1990s. The produced the compilation album of 12 songs back in 1994, including Grammy-winning hits 'Why Not Me', 'Mama He's Crazy', and 'Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)'. The singer died just one day before The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Over three decades, the pair achieved 14 No. 1 hits. They split as a performing act in 1991 after Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis. The Judds had as many as 20 top 10 hits between 1984 and 1991 and tallied five Grammys, nine CMA Awards and seven Academy of Country Music Awards. They were named the top vocal duo by the Academy of Country Music seven years in a row.


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Naomi reportedly died due to 'the disease of mental illness'. Both Wynonna and sister Ashley Judd wrote in a statement on social media, "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."



Born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky, Naomi went on to marry Michael Ciminella, despite becoming pregnant with another man's child. She subsequently had to miss her high school graduation to give birth to her child, Christina (Wynonna), in 1964. She later gave birth to Ashley after moving to Los Angeles with her husband by 1972. She and Ciminella soon divorced. She worked secretarial, waitressing and modeling jobs, and eventually moved back to Kentucky. "We were (living) on a mountaintop in Kentucky. We didn't have a telephone or a TV," she told The Tennessean in 2021. “We were so broke, and wearing flea market dresses. We'd have these fantasies, and we were really goofy. We had such a sense of humor. And (we were) so eager to try new stuff and make fun of ourselves.”

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd of The Judds attend the 2022 CMT Music Awards at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on April 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT)

Naomi eventually went on to form the The Judds when her daughter Wynonna was 19. She soon met producer Brent Maher, and the duo was signed to RCA Records. Their single 'Mama, He’s Crazy' made to the top of Billboard's country charts a year later.

Wynonna had said during an interview with The Tennessean in 2019, "She was 36 and I was 18. To go from the outhouse to the White House, to know that we went from welfare to millionaire, and we’re the American dream. People are going to see this and see themselves in us. It’s important to remember we are a mother and daughter who came out of nothing and made it … and if we can do it, you can, too.”

Wynonna Judd (L) and Naomi Judd (R) attend the new exhibition debut, The Judds: Dream Chasers, at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on August 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum)

Naomi spoke of her mental illness in 2016. She told ABC's 'Good Morning America' that she had been diagnosed with severe depression and had spent time in psychiatric hospitals. She had also noted that she was confronting issues from her childhood as part of her therapy, including how a relative had molested her when she was three. 

Fans are now mourning Naomi's death on social media. "I’m very sad to hear that Naomi Judd has passed away. Rest In Peace .Sending love and light to Ashley and Wynonna and all who love her," one user wrote on Twitter. "My daughters and I listened to the Judds ALL the time. We’d ride in the car with them on the radio, singing along at the top of our lungs and dance around the house to their wonderful songs. My heart goes out to Naomi Judd’s beautiful daughters and husband," wrote another.



"Naomi Judd has passed today. Her tragic death is another reminder that depression and mental illness are too much of a burden to bear when you carry it all alone on your shoulders," one user said, while another commented, "Such sad news. Naomi Judd has died, one day before The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Rest in Peace, and condolences to her family."



GRAMMY Award-Winning Singer Travis Tritt tweeted, "This is heartbreaking news! Naomi Judd was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. I had the honor of working with her in movies and numerous musical events. My deepest heartfelt condolences go out to her family." Host and executive producer of 'CMT Radio', Cody Alan, wrote, sharing a photo of himself and Naomi, "My heart is sinking over the loss today of Naomi Judd at 76. She was a talented lady, and one of a kind, making The Judds iconic in every sense of the word. This pic was taken just a few weeks ago". "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow Kentuckian, Naomi Judd. Naomi was always so special to be with. She accomplished so much and she will be missed and loved forever. My prayers go out to Naomi and her family," wrote country music singer Crystal Gayle.





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