Naomi Judd Died From Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Daughter Ashley Reveals

In April, the music world was rocked by news that country legend Naomi Judd had passed away unexpectedly.

Judd was 76, but she was said to be in good health at the time of her passing, and loved ones indicated early on that she did not die from natural causes.

Last week, Naomi’s daughter, actress Ashley Judd, confirmed that her mother died by suicide.

Today, in a harrowing interview with Good Morning America, Ashley revealed the method by which Naomi took her own life.

In an effort to call attention to America’s growing mental health crisis, Ashley confirmed that Naomi died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Her brain hurt. It physically hurt, and I’m tasked with an exceedingly difficult task in disclosing the matter in the way my mother chose to continue to live, because we don’t want it to be part of the gossip economy,” the actress revealed to Diane Sawyer.

“I will share with you that she used a weapon mother used a firearm so that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing but understand.”

Ashley on GMA

Ashley went on to reveal that she was the one who discovered her mother’s body.

“It was a mixed day. I visit with my mom and pop every day when I’m home in Tennessee, so I was at the house visiting as I am every day. Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ and I said, ‘Of course, I will,'” Judd recalled.

“I went upstairs to let her know that her good friend was there and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.”

Ashley, Naomi, Wynnona

Ashley and her sister Wynona both addressed the crowd at last week’s Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony, where their mother was supposed to receive the honor of being inducted.

“Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” Ashley said on GMA.

“That was the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside her.”

Ashley concluded with an important message to all the loved ones of people who are struggling with mental illness. 

Naomi Judd Picture

“My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked home,” she said.

“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It’s very real, and it lies, it’s savage.”

Throughout her legendary life, Naomi was open about her struggles with severe depression.

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd

In 2018, she penned an open letter for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018.

“For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don’t have very good answers,” the musician wrote at the time.

“People who commit suicide are experiencing problems with mood, impulse control and aggression, all of which involve discrete circuits in the brain that regulate these aspects of human experience,”Judd continued.

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd Picture

“But we still don’t understand how these circuits go haywire in the brains of suicide victims.”

It’s horribly tragic that Naomi fought this disease for so long only to succumb on the eve of one of the biggest honors of her career.

But we’re sure that her family is somewhat comforted by the knowledge that in speaking out, she aided others who were suffering and helped to destigmatize this debilitating disease.

Our thoughts go out to the entire Judd family during this tremendously difficult time.

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