HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicLoretta Lynn’s Sister, Crystal Gayle, Remembers ‘Fellow Kentuckian’ Naomi Judd

Loretta Lynn’s Sister, Crystal Gayle, Remembers ‘Fellow Kentuckian’ Naomi Judd

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)

Tragically, Naomi Judd took her own life on April 30 after a long battle with mental illness. The outpouring of love, support, and grief for the Judd family from friends and fans has been immense. Contemporaries and friends of Naomi’s like Dolly Parton, Ann Wilson, and Loretta Lynn shared their shock and grief on social media. Fellow artists like Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile, and LeAnn Rimes have also shared tributes to the legendary country music superstar.

Loretta Lynn’s youngest sister, singer Crystal Gayle, recently posted her own tribute on Twitter. “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow Kentuckian, Naomi Judd,” she wrote. “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.”

Naomi Judd and Crystal Gayle were both born in Kentucky: Naomi in Ashland, Crystal in Paintsville. They were close in age as well, with only 5 years between them. Naomi Judd later moved herself and her daughters to California, where she studied nursing at the College of Marin before launching her singing career with oldest daughter Wynonna.

Crystal Gayle Makes Tribute to Naomi Judd After Tragic Death

Naomi Judd passed on April 30, a day before she and her daughter Wynonna were due to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Wynonna accepted the honor with her sister Ashley by her side. Naomi Judd had long struggled with depression, but it became worse as time progressed. She was a longtime advocate for mental health, and in 2018 penned a statement for People Magazine for Mental Health Awareness Week.

“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,” she wrote. “We do know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.”

She also wrote about her journey in her 2016 book “River of Time,” speaking of survival and understanding. “I want someone to be able to see that they can survive,” she wrote. “It’s not just to help the people that have depression. It’s so the people around them can understand this is a disease.”

Naomi Judd To Be Honored in CMT Special

Tonight, May 3 at 9pm CT, CMT will air the special “CMT Remembers: Naomi Judd” to honor the late country music star. Carrie Underwood, Lorette Lynn, Billy Ray Cyrus, Martina McBride, and Wynonna Judd will contribute to the special. This tragedy comes on the heels of Naomi and Wynonna’s incredible performance of “Love Can Build a Bridge” at the CMT Music Awards, news of their reunion tour, and their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.