Grammy-winning singer Naomi Judd dies at age 76

Naomi Judd, the Kentucky-born singer of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds and mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd, has died. She was 76.

The daughters announced her death on Saturday in a statement to The Associated Press.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We have lost our beautiful mother to a mental illness,” the statement said. “We are heartbroken. We are navigating deep grief knowing that as we loved her, she was loved by her audience. terrain.”

Naomi Judd died near Nashville, Tennessee, said a statement on behalf of her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland. It said no further details about her death would be released and asked for privacy while the family mourns.

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The Judds were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, and they had just announced that they would be embarking on an arena tour in the fall, their first joint tour in more than a decade. They also returned to award shows when they performed at the CMT Music Awards earlier this month.

“It’s an honor to have witnessed ‘Love Can Build a Bridge’ a few weeks ago,” singer Maren Morris wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

“This is heartbreaking news! Naomi Judd was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known,” singer Travis Tritt posted on Twitter, noting that he’d collaborated with Judd several times on screen and in performances.

The mother-daughter performers scored 14 No. 1 songs in a career spanning nearly three decades. After reaching the pinnacle of country music, they called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi Judd with hepatitis C. Wynonna continued her solo career.

The Judds’ hits included “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1990, “Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Why Not Me” in 1984, “Turn It Loose” in 1988, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” in 1986 and “Grandpa” in 1986.

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Born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Kentucky, Naomi was working as a nurse in Nashville when she and Wynonna began singing together professionally. Their unique harmonies, along with elements of acoustic music, bluegrass and blues, made them stand out in the genre at the time.

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“We had such an original stamp on what we were trying to do,” Naomi Judd told The AP after they were announced they would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Judds released six studio albums and an EP between 1984 and 1991 and won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music. They earned a total of five Grammy Awards together on hits like “Why Not Me” and “Give A Little Love”, and Naomi earned a sixth Grammy for writing “Love Can Build a Bridge”.

The Judds also performed during halftime of the 1994 Super Bowl, along with Travis Tritt, Clint Black and Tanya Tucker.

The Judds sang about family, the faith in marriage, and the virtue of fidelity. Since Naomi looked so young, the two were mistaken for sisters early in their careers. She was also known for favoring flashy stage outfits, full of glitter and rhinestones, over casual boots and cowboy-style clothes.

They first gained attention while singing on Ralph Emery’s morning show in the early 1980s, where the host referred to them as the “Soap Sisters” because Naomi said she made her own soap.

After the success of ‘Mama He’s Crazy’ they won the Horizon Award at the CMA Awards in 1984. Naomi started her speech by saying, “Hit the dog and spit in the fire!”

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Naomi Judd was open about her health issues, as well as severe depression and anxiety. In her memoir, “River of Time,” she described her diagnosis of hepatitis C, which she claims she had unknowingly contracted during her time as a nurse. She said her doctors told her in 1995 that she was completely free of the virus.

In the memoir, she described feeling as if she had lost her identity when she returned home after a 2010 reunion tour, where she isolated herself in her home and suffered crippling panic attacks. She also said she had dealt with childhood sexual abuse trauma. She was admitted to a psychiatric ward of a hospital and spent time in an outpatient treatment program.

Daughter Ashley Judd is an actor and humanitarian known for her roles in such films as ‘Kiss the Girls’, ‘Double Jeopardy’ and ‘Heat’.

Strickland, who was a backing singer for Elvis Presley, was married to Naomi Judd for 32 years.

© 2022 The Associated Press

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