OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Country music legend Naomi Judd’s cause of death has been revealed by her daughter, Ashley Judd.
The actress appeared on “Good Morning America” on Thursday and said that her mom died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“She used a weapon,” she said. “A firearm. So that’s the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing.”
She said that she and her family decided to share the cause of death with her mother’s fans.
The actress said that they wanted to shine a light on the disease of mental illness Ashley Judd said she because it is “important to make the distinction between the loved one and the disease.”
She said that the family decided to share the cause of death before it was discovered by someone else and that she was the one who found her.
“I have both grief and trauma from discovering her,” she said.
She said that her mother “couldn’t hang on” to be honored by her peers at the Country music Hall of Fame and tragically took her own life.
“That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her,” she said. “Because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart and the lie the disease told her was so convincing.”
.@ashleyjudd to @dianesawyer on her late mother Naomi Judd: “Our mother couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. I mean, that is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her.“ https://t.co/HNL2XqNE6z pic.twitter.com/Uzi7X0hUDG
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 12, 2022
Last week Judd’s famous daughters, actress Ashley Judd and country singer Wynonna Judd, released a heartbreaking announcement over the weekend.
“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. We are in unknown territory,” the joint message said.
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. We are in unknown territory.
— Wynonna (@Wynonna) April 30, 2022
On Sunday, the late country star and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Both daughters were at the ceremony and spoke emotionally about their mother.
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” Wynonna shared. “I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.”
Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, also took the stage to speak about the family.
“We can’t ever know all their struggles, but we know all their songs,” he said. “Their stories have been well documented, Naomi and Wynonna, a mother and daughter forced together and forged together. It’s all complicated — and it all emerged in beauty and triumph.”
The Judds joined the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday in a ceremony filled with tears, music and laughter, just a day after Naomi Judd died unexpectedly at age 76.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 2, 2022
Judd wrote an op-ed for NBC News in 2017 about her struggle with depression and encouraged those who struggle with it to seek help.
“These days I’m working with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital to try to reduce stigma and get the word out about treatment for mental illness,” Judd wrote. “So I know now that there are almost 44 million people in America that experience mental illness in a given year.”
“If you’ve got a pulse, then you’re fighting some battle, whether it’s a diagnosis of depression, like 16 million people, or one of anxiety, like 42 million people, or something else,” she added. “And there’s power in numbers: it means that there are other people. You’re not alone.”
Naomi was a longtime advocate for mental wellness and wrote in her 2016 book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, about her personal struggles with depression.
“Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there,” Naomi told People at the time. “Think of your very worst day of your whole life – someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.