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Ashley Judd Reveals Mom Naomi’s Cause of Death In GMA Interview

Naomi Judd died April 30 after a long struggle with mental health issues
Naomi Judd RIP
Naomi Judd of The Judds performs during the Stagecoach music festival at the Empire Polo Fields on May 3, 2008 in Indio, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Ashley Judd revealed in a Good Morning America interview this morning (May 12) that her mother, country superstar Naomi Judd, died April 30 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that she was the one who found her body. Naomi was 76. Her death was attributed at the time to a long struggle with “the disease of mental illness.”

“She used a weapon. Mother used a firearm,” Ashley told interviewer Diane Sawyer of “the manner in which my mother chose not to live. So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”

Ashley was visiting at her mother’s Tennessee home on the day of her death, and had gone outside to greet a visitor when Naomi took her own life. “I went upstairs to let her know that the friend was there, and I discovered her,” she said. “I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.”


Naomi Judd died one day before she and her daughter Wynonna, who as The Judds became one of the most beloved and successful acts in country music history, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,” Ashley Judd said. “That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, 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.” That lie took the form of the elder Judd believing she was “not loved” and “not worthy.”

Ashley read a statement from Wynonna during the interview that said, “I need to take some time to process and I need this time to myself. I’m not ready yet to speak publicly about what happened so I know you understand why I’m not there today.”