- Naomi Judd died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, says her daughter Ashley.
- Ashley said on “Good Morning America” that in her mother’s final days “her brain hurt, it physically hurt.”
- Naomi died on April 30, days before being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Country music icon Naomi Judd died on April 30 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to her daughter Ashley, who spoke out for the first time about the cause of death on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday. She was 76.
“She used a weapon. My mother used a firearm,” Ashley told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we do not say it someone else is going to.”
Judd was just days away from being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with her other daughter, Wynonna, with whom she made up the chart-topping band, The Judds. But Ashley said that her mother suffered from mental illness and in her final days, “her brain hurt, it physically hurt,” she said.
“My mother knew she was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walking home,” Ashley told Sawyer. “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.”
“Our mother could not hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” Ashley continued. “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 could not penetrate into her heart, and the lie the disease told her was so convincing.”
Ashley also talked about the day of her mother’s death.
“It was a mixed day,” she said. “I visit with my mom and pop every day when I’m home in Tennessee, so I was at the house visiting as I am every day. Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ and I said, ‘Of course I will.’ I went upstairs to let her know that her good friend was there and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her. “
On the evening of the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony, Wynonna Judd was present and spoke at the event.
“I did not prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” Wynonna told the audience during the induction, according to Variety. “I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed. Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do. “