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Singer Naomi Judd Dies April 30, 2022

Published by: Carolyn Brooks Fleming on May 1, 2022.

Naomi Judd, half of the country music duo The Judds, died on April 30, 2022. She was 76.

She was born Diana Ellen Judd, in Ashland, Kentucky. Judd raised her two daughters primarily as a single parent, and she worked as a nurse in Kentucky. She planned to continue in that field, helping underserved people who lived in the Appalachian region.

Meanwhile, Diana and her eldest daughter, Christina, sang together occasionally and received enthusiastic applause, so Diana chose to set her nursing career aside, and the two changed their names to Naomi and Wynonna. Naomi later wrote, “Singing was and is the only career Wynonna ever desired. Performing is what she does brilliantly. As her mom, I knew we had to move to Nashville, to give Wynonna the best chance at a career in music.”

Naomi and Wynonna formed The Judds in the 1980s. Over the years they sold more than 20 million albums which featured 14 number-one singles, including “Love Can Build a Bridge” and Mama He’s Crazy.”

Naomi’s younger daughter, Ashley, later became a successful actor.

In 1990, Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C, which she probably contracted when she was a nurse, and doctors predicted that she only had three years to live. However, Judd fought back, choosing survival. She later wrote, “Born an optimist, I chose not to accept the fate with which the doctors had sealed my future. I was offended by their ‘curse’ of a rapid decline. I angrily rebelled as if a medical hex had been placed on me.” By 1995 she was free of the virus.

Despite her fighting spirit, Naomi Judd struggled with depression. In 2016, she wrote a book about her experience, titled “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” In 2017, she said, “It’s hard to describe. You go down in this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think that there’s another minute.”

The Judds were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1, the day after Naomi’s death. The family has requested that the ceremony should continue as planned. The Judds were also planning an arena tour which was to begin in September 2022.

Judd’s specific cause of death has not been released. She is survived by her husband, Larry Strickland, and two daughters, Wynonna and Ashley.

Learn more about Naomi Judd in her own words.

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SOURCES

Judd, Naomi. “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” Center Street, December 6, 2016.

Kacala, Alexander. “Naomi Judd, country icon and matriarch of The Judds, dies at 76.” Today, May 1, 2022, https://www.today.com/popculture/music/naomi-judd-country-icon-dies-76-rcna26792.

Rose, Andy. “Country music legend Naomi Judd, of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds, has died, age 76.” MSN, April 30, 2022, https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/celebrity/country-music-legend-naomi-judd-of-the-grammy-winning-duo-the-judds-has-died/ar-AAWN25B.

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