Ashley Judd Confirms Naomi Judd’s Cause Of Death

13 May 2022 | 10:49 am | Staff Writer

In their initial statement after Naomi’s death, Ashley and sister Wynonna attributed their mother’s loss to “the disease of mental illness”.

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TRIGGER WARNING: The following article may distress some readers. If you need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.

Naomi Judd, from the mother-daughter duo The Judds, tragically passed away on April 30 at the age of 76. While details of her death were previously left unsaid (amid rumours of suicide), her daughter, Ashley Judd revealed Thursday that the matriarch’s death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ashley told Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America that she and her family didn’t want to share these private details but knew that they would come out eventually. So instead, she’s using her grief to bring awareness to mental illness to help others.

“My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked home,” the actress said. “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. It’s very real, and it lies. It’s savage, and you know, my mother, our mother, couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. And that is the level of 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.”

“I’ve thought about this so much, because once I say it, it cannot be unsaid. And so, because we don’t want it to be a part of the gossip economy, I will share with you that she used a weapon. Mother used a firearm. So that’s the piece of information that we feel very uncomfortable sharing but understand the position that, you know, if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”

Ashley also confirmed she was the one who found her mother that day at Naomi’s Tennessee home.

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In their initial statement after Naomi’s death, Ashley and sister Wynonna attributed their mother’s loss to “the disease of mental illness”.

Naomi was a long-time advocate for mental wellness, and she wrote an open letter for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018, shared exclusively with People.

"For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don't have very good answers," Naomi wrote at the time. "We do know that suicidal behaviour accompanies many behavioural brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses."

CMT will air a live public memorial service, Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville this Sunday. (no Australian times have yet been announced).

“While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honoured to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: the Mother Church of Country Music,” the producers said in a statement. “This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music.”