Country music icon Naomi Judd passed away on April 30 at 76. Her death was announced in a joint statement by her daughters Wynonna and Ashley. The sisters took to Instagram to share that they were "shattered" by their mother's passing.
Although no immediate cause of death was provided, Judd's daughters mentioned that they lost their mother due to "the disease of mental illness":
Naomi Judd's sudden demise left the entire country music industry heartbroken, with many taking to social media to pay their tributes to the artist.
In addition to her two children, Wynonna and Ashley, Judd is also survived by her husband, Larry Strickland, and her grandchildren, Grace Pauline Kelly and Elijah Judd.
Everything to know about Naomi Judd's family
On January 11, 1946, Naomi Judd was born to parents Pauline Ruth "Polly" and Charles Glen Judd and grew up with her brother Brian. Her father reportedly owned a gas station, and her mother worked as a waitress.
The family of four initially lived in Ashland, Kentucky. Unfortunately, Judd's brother died of leukemia in 1965 at 17. Several years later, the musician wrote the song River of Time about her brother's death.
Judd's childhood was reportedly marked by trauma as she suffered from abuse at the hands of her great uncle and later by her schoolmates.
The musician fell pregnant with her first child, Wynonna Judd (born as Christina Ciminella) when she was just 17 years old.
During a 2006 interview with the Palm Beach Post, Judd opened up about her personal and familial struggles during her first pregnancy:
"I’ve been on my own since I was 17 years old. When I was pregnant with Wynonna, I was 17, in my senior year of high school, nobody knew I was pregnant, my little brother was dying, my parents were getting a divorce. The guy who got me pregnant left town when he found out I was pregnant."
Judd gave birth to her first daughter Wynonna the week she graduated from school at 18. She also tied the knot with her first husband, Michael Ciminella, at the time.
The couple also welcomed their daughter, Ashley, in 1968 after moving to California. However, they decided to call it quits in the early 1970s, and Judd started raising her daughters as a single mother after her divorce.
The singer reportedly lived on welfare and started working in restaurants and stores before studying nursing. She later moved back to Kentucky and received a nursing degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 1979.
Judd also started encouraging her daughters to pursue their respective artistic interests. She later moved to Nashville with her children and began helping Wynonna establish a career in music.
Naomi and Wynonna started singing together towards the end of 1970s and eventually found immense success after launching The Judds.
The mother-daughter duo took the country music industry by storm. They remained at the top of the charts and swept numerous accolades at award shows for nearly seven consecutive years.
However, The Judds stopped performing at the height of their popularity in 1991 due to Naomi Judd's health condition and hepatitis C diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Wynonna decided to pursue a solo career and earned considerable success in the industry. Judd's second daughter Ashley established a career in acting and appeared in the 1993 film Ruby in Paradise as well as the Emmy-winning series Sisters.
Both Judd's daughters have previously credited their mother as an inspiration and praised her for playing an essential role in their success in the entertainment industry.
Judd married her second husband, musician and Palmetto State Quartet star Larry Strickland, on May 6, 1989. The duo stayed together until Judd's demise yesterday.
Before her death, Naomi Judd also became a loving grandmother to Grace Pauline Kelly and Elijah Judd.