On Saturday, award-winning country star Naomi Judd died by suicide at 76-years-old after a long struggle with mental health.

Her daughters Wynona Judd and Ashley Judd announced her death in an emotional statement posted to social media, saying,

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. 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.”

Namoi’s husband, Larry Strickland, also gave a vague statement, saying, “Namoi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”

Naomi Judd and husband Larry Strickland

Although her family remains silent on the circumstances of the singer’s death, multiple sources have confirmed to People magazine that she took her own life following a long battle with mental illness.

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Naomi was very open with her mental illness struggles and was a major advocate for mental wellness.

In 2016, the singer released a memoir about her battle with mental illness called “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope”. The book details her life-changing hepatitis C diagnosis in 1990, during which time doctors estimated she had only three years left to live. In 1995, however, Naomi fully recovered from this illness.

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However, her struggles continued in the form of a mental illness that manifested itself in post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, perhaps among other things.

In 2018, Naomi wrote an open letter for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018 for People magazine:

“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. We do know that suicidal behavior accompanies many behavioral brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of preventable death among these mental illnesses.

To understand this issue better, we have to bring the study of suicide into mainstream neuroscience and treat the condition like every other brain disorder,” continued the note. “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, but we still don’t understand how these circuits go haywire in the brains of suicide victims.”

Naomi and her daughter Wynonna made up the iconic country music duo The Judds.

Naomi and Wynonna Judd

On Sunday, just one day after Naomi’s untimely death, the Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The emotional ceremony was led by daughters Wynonna and Ashley.

Wynonna and Ashley Judd at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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