Naomi Judd died of self-inflicted firearm wound, daughter reveals

Ashley Judd talks about mental health after mother’s death

Ashley Judd and her family wanted the world to hear from them how Naomi Judd died. "She used a weapon," Ashley Judd said. "A firearm. So that's the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing."

Naomi Judd died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to her daughter, Ashley Judd.

Ashley shared the heartbreaking news with “Good Morning America” on Wednesday where she opened up about her mother’s death.

“She used a weapon,” Ashley Judd said. “A firearm. So that’s the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing.”

Naomi Judd passed away at 76 just one day before she was going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame -- alongside her daughter, Wynonna.

Related: Celebrities pay tribute to life of Naomi Judd on Twitter

In an emotional conversation, the actress said she wanted to speak before things “become public without our control.”

“We’re aware that although grieving the loss of a wife and a mother, we are, in an uncanny way, a public family,” Judd said. “So that’s really the impetus for this timing. Otherwise, it’s obviously way too soon. So that’s important for us to say up front.”

Ashley Judd said she and her family wanted to shed light on mental illness, explaining that it is “important to make the distinction between the loved one and the disease.”

“My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish and that she was walked home,” Ashley said tearfully. “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 is enough to… it lies, it’s savage and my mother, our mother, couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe that was going on inside of her. 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.”

Ashley Judd said that her mother shot herself with a gun, but asked for privacy on other details of the death. Naomi Judd wrote openly about her depression and anxiety in her memoir “River of Time” and daughter Ashley said it was because of this that she cherished every moment she spent with her mother.

“I really accepted the love my mother was capable of giving me because I knew she was fragile,” Judd said. “So when I walked around the back of their house and came in the kitchen door and she said, ‘There’s my darling, there’s my baby.’ And she lit up. I savored those moments.”

Ashley also thanked everyone for the support she and her family have received in the wake of their grief. CMT will air a televised memorial for Judd on Sunday, CNN reported.

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If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

Important numbers

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (TALK); 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Text TALK to 741741 (suicide)
  • Text HOME to 741741 (crisis)
  • Children Home Society’s Family Support: Warm Line 1-888-733-6303 (chslistens.com)
  • United Way: Dial 211 for 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention
  • The Vinson Foundation: Helping Families Coping with Suicide Loss (https://thevinsonfoundation.org/)
  • Heretomorrow: Helpline in Neptune Beach available Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. -- (904) 372-9087 (heretomorrow.org)
  • LSF Health Systems: 24/7 ACCESS TO CARE LINE: (877) 229-9098 (https://www.lsfhealthsystems.org/)

About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.