Naomi Judd, who was public about her struggles with acute anxiety and depression, died by suicide, sources told People on Monday.
Her daughters Ashley and Wynonna Judd had obliquely alluded to that possibility when they announced her death at age 76 on Saturday.
“We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the sisters said in a statement. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
The late singer’s representative had not commented, People reported, but the family had been tight-lipped after the emotional but brief announcement of her death.
“Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time,” read a follow-up statement from Larry Strickland, Naomi Judd’s husband of 32 years. “No additional information will be released at this time.”
At the request of her family, the ceremony to induct The Judds into the Country Music Hall of Fame went on as planned, with Wynonna accepting the highest honor accorded in the country music world on behalf of the mother-daughter duo.
“I’m going to make this fast, because my heart’s broken — and I feel so blessed,” Wynonna Judd said before about 800 people in the CMA Theater for the ceremony. “I mean, it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.”
Actress and activist Ashley Judd paid tribute to her mother, her sister and the country music community.
“My momma loved you so much,” she said through tears, “and she appreciated your love for her. and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today. Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart. And it was her affection for her that kept her going in these last years.”
The National Suicide Prevention hotline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.