Naomi Judd, who with her daughter Wynonna founded the dynamic pair The Judds, one of country music’s most popular performers, has died. She was 76 years old.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” Wynonna and sister, actress Ashley Judd, announced in a statement Saturday. “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.” As per Page Six, in the 1980s and 1990s, the Judds had a string of successful singles, and in 1994, they produced a compilation album of 12 songs that topped the country charts, including Grammy-winning hits Why Not Me, Mama He’s Crazy, and Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days).
Their lyrics successfully blended romanticised small-town emotions with the raw emotion of single women juggling parenthood, family, and romance — most of which were based on their real-life experiences. Judd was just 17 years old when she gave birth to her firstborn daughter, Christina Ciminella, who took her father’s surname, Michael. After Naomi and her husband split in 1972, their daughter changed her name to Wynonna Judd. Naomi obtained custody of Wynonna, now 57, and the two famously taught each other to perform music while trying to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, according to Page Six, The Judds were named the top vocal duo by the Academy of Country Music seven years in a row, from 1984 to 1990. They also won five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group from 1985 to 1992, including Give A Little Love and Love Can Build a Bridge – the latter of which earned songwriter Naomi another Grammy for Country Song of the Year.
Our thoughts are with Naomi Judd’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.