Ashley Judd opens up about death of mother Naomi Judd

Fans of the country mother-daughter duo The Judds were shocked when they learned that Naomi Judd had died on April 30. Now her daughter Ashley Judd has opened up about her mother’s death.

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Ashley Judd, speaking to Diane Sawyer, said that her mother died at the age of 75 from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Wynonna Judd, along with her sister Ashley, announced their mother’s death, saying she died “of the disease of mental illness,” The Associated Press reported. They had asked for privacy at the time.

>>Previous coverage: Naomi Judd: Country music stars, others flood social media with tributes to late singer

The actress said the family wanted to control what information was released before an autopsy came out.

“She used a weapon ... mother used a firearm,” Ashley Judd told Sawyer. “So that’s the piece of information we’re very uncomfortable sharing.”

Ashley Judd was selected by her family to be the one to speak about her mother’s battles with mental illness, and to help fans who may find themselves in a similar situation.

>>Previous coverage: Country singing star Naomi Judd dead at 76

“When you’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important and to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It’s very real.” Ashley Judd told Sawyer. “It lies. It’s savage.”

The timing of Naomi Judd’s death was shocking, coming days before The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 2, the AP reported.

>>Previous coverage: The Judds, Ray Charles join Country Music Hall of Fame one day after Naomi Judd’s death

“Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” Ashley Judd told Sawyer. “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 the disease told her was so convincing ... that you are not enough, that you’re not loved, that you’re not worthy. And her brain hurt, it physically hurt, and I’m tasked with an exceedingly difficult task in disclosing the manner of the way my mother chose not to continue to live,” Ashley Judd told Sawyer.

>>Previous coverage: Naomi Judd’s public memorial service will air live Sunday on CMT

The Country Music Hall of Fame released a statement about Naomi Judd shortly after her death, saying, “Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news,” Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young said in a statement, according to the AP. “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.”

>>Previous coverage: Naomi Judd’s life, legacy to be honored with special CMT programming

Prior to her death, Naomi Judd joined her daughter Wynonna to perform “Love Can Build a Bridge” during the CMT Music Awards in March, the AP reported.

Note: If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support at 1-800-273-8255. Beginning July 16, 2022, U.S. residents can also be connected to the Lifeline by dialing 988. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.