Country music fans worldwide paused when they saw Saturday’s heart-breaking headline — “Naomi Judd Dies” following a “mental illness.”
Her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, announced the news in a statement released to the media. Naomi and Wynonna formed the country duo known simply as The Judds back in 1984. Earlier this month, the two got back together to sing at the CMT Awards for their first public performance in two decades. It coincided with the announcement that the two would go on tour later this fall. No one, at least publicly, knew Naomi was struggling. Her death came a day before The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The statement said: “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. (And) we are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
Devastated Fans Started Sharing the “Naomi Judd Dies” Headlines
Country music fans immediately began sharing the “Naomi Judd Dies” stories, adding their own thoughts.
Bobby Bones, the noted radio host based in Nashville, tweeted: “RIP Naomi Judd. My mom taught me seemingly every one of your songs. She’d sing them often and loud. You left Country Music better than you found it.
Hunter Kelly, another noted radio host, shared a photo of himself as a young boy. The snap was from 1996. And he was beaming because he was standing between Naomi and Wynonna. The two had both autographed the photo. He quoted The Judds song “Flow on River of Time,” which also was the title of their fifth studio album. The music was released in 1989. The lyrics, given what happened Saturday, are achingly personal.
“Silence so deep only my soul can hear, says now the past is what I fear. The future isn’t what it used to be. Only today is all that’s promised me. Flow on River of Time. I love you, Naomi Judd. January 11, 1946 – April 30, 2022.”
Mourners Noted That Legendary Singer Appealed to All Audiences
A fan pointed out Naomi’s crossover appeal. She and Wynonna won five Grammys. Plus, Naomi did acting work, appearing on shows like Frasier, Touched By an Angel and Sisters.
“Bruh I don’t listen to much Country music but everyone knew who Naomi Judd was may she rest in peace this is so sad.”
Another wrote: “Godspeed Naomi Judd. Sweet mama judd. So sad.”
The mother-daughter duo dominated country music in the 1980s and into the 90s. They produced 14 No. 1 hits. The duo called it quits in 1991, when doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis C.
The two reunited on stage, April 11, for a CMT Awards show performance. The Judds, standing outside Nashville Municipal Auditorium, performed one of their signature songs “Love Can Build a Bridge.” Naomi was wearing a bright blue, sparkly pant suit. After Wynonna finished the first verse, she turned to her mother and said “this is really happening.” Naomi smiled. Then a gospel choir lined up behind them for a grand, uplifting finale.
The performance was steeped in nostalgia. But fans started looking towards the fall. The Judds were scheduled to kick off their tour Sept. 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, finishing Oct. 28 in Nashville. Martina McBride, another strong female presence in country music, was joining them for select dates.
Then came the news with the headline “Naomi Judd dies.” We are all at a loss.