Naomi Judd, the country music icon who died on April 30 at the age of 75, has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, her daughter, Ashley Judd, revealed Thursday morning.
Ashley Judd appeared on “Good Morning America” to speak with Diane Sawyer about her mother’s death and how the Judd family coped in the weeks that followed. She said her family wanted to control the flow of information about the death before an autopsy is released.
“She used a gun…my mom used a gun,” Ashley told Sawyer. “So that’s the information that we’re very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position where if we don’t say it, someone else will.”
Ashley said she was substituted by her family to discuss her mother’s death in order to shed light on the illness and shine a light on a path for fans who need help.
“My mother knew that she had been seen and heard in her anguish, and that she had been driven home,” she said, adding: “When we talk about mental illness, it It’s very important to be clear and to distinguish between our loved one and the disease. It’s very real, and it’s lying, it’s wild.
Ashley also said that despite her mother’s impending induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, she was unable to continue coping with the disease.
“Our mom couldn’t hold on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” she said. “That’s the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside her, because the barrier between the esteem they held her in couldn’t penetrate her heart and the lie the disease had told her was so convincing.”
Ashley also detailed her mother’s last day.
“It was a mixed day,” she said. “I visit my mom and dad every day when I’m home in Tennessee, so I was home visiting like I am every day. Mom said to me, ‘Do you want to stay with me?’ and I said, ‘Of course I will.’… I went upstairs to let him know that his good friend was there and I found her. I have both grief and trauma discovering her.
She also encouraged fans to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) if they need help.
In a statement released by Ashley Judd and her sister, Wynonna, immediately after their mother’s death, the two attributed her death to “the illness of mental illness”.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” the statement read, according to The Associated Press. “We lost our mother-in-law to mental illness. We are broken. We navigate deep mourning and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her audience. We are in uncharted territory.
The day after Naomi Judd’s death, The Judds, a musical duo consisting of Wynonna Judd and her mother, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in a tearful ceremony.
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably do the most talking,” Wynonna told the audience during the induction. “I’m going to do this fast, because my heart is broken and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be so broken and blessed… Even though my heart is broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.