The Kentucky-born singer of the Grammy-winning duo, The Judds, passed away at the age of 76 in May 2022.
Trigger warning: This article mentions death by suicide which some readers may find distressing.
Wynonna Judd is still grieving the loss of her mother and longtime singing partner Naomi Judd. The Kentucky-born singer of the Grammy-winning duo, The Judds, passed away at the age of 76 in May 2022. Dealing with the death of a family member can be hard and the family was even more pained to know that Naomi had died by suicide.
Daughters, Ashley Judd, and Wynonna Judd announced their mother's death in a statement. "Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public," the statement said according to PEOPLE. "We are in unknown territory."
Naomi's husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, added, "Naomi Judd's family request privacy during this heartbreaking time." Recalling her final moments, even Strickland noticed that she was low on energy. The final months leading up to his wife's death "was a very chaotic, hectic, hectic time," the 76-year-old told PEOPLE. "It was extremely hard. She had several therapists that she was seeing, and her energy level had gotten really low. She was getting really weak."
More recently daughter Wynonna opened up to TODAY’s Hoda Kotb for her Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast reflecting on the last performance of the mother-daughter duo. There was something different on the night of their final performance at the CMT Awards in April 2022. "She was very fragile," the 58-year-old confessed of her mother's demeanor. The pair sang their 1990 single Love Can Build a Bridge when she noticed her mother's eyes filled with trepidation. "I think it’s because she hadn’t sung in a long time," she explained. "And I think when our parents get older, their world gets smaller. And she was late (that night), and she is never late. I think she was nervous. And I think it was so much of an expectation to do it for CMT Awards, and I just think it was, like, imagine being that nervous and having to go out."
While Wynonna describes herself as a tough woman however at that moment she wanted to be as gentle with her mother as possible. "All of a sudden, she looked at me and blinked, and I knew then that something wasn’t right in terms of her being off a little bit, like, nervous. I softened, which I think is God’s grace. I just kind of reached out and touched her hand, like, 'I’m here. I got you. It’s OK,'" she shared. "I’m glad I did that, because that was the last time we performed together. I’m glad I didn’t stay stuck in my perfectionism is my point, I guess."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jason Kempin