Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna Judd together made up the country music group The Judds. As a duo, they earned 5 grammies, 9 CMA awards, 7 ACM awards and had 14 chart-topping songs.

Singing wasn’t all that defined Naomi. She was a mother. She was a nurse before her music career took off. She also suffered from mental illness and struggled with suicidal thoughts.

Naomi’s daughter and Wynonna’s sister, actress Ashley Judd, broke the news about her mother’s death on Instagram. She explained, “We lost our beautiful mother due to the disease of mental illness.”

Naomi’s death occurred just one day before she and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ashley and Wynonna accepted the award on their mother’s behalf. During her acceptance speech, Wynonna said, “It’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.”

While dying due to mental illness is very vague, Ashley, Wynonna and their step-father, Larry Strickland, whom the sisters refer to as Pop, decided that they wanted to clarify how Naomi’s death occurred before the media told their story for them.

In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer, Ashley relived April 30, the day of her mother’s death. She explained that she was with her mother that day and saw her just moments before she died. She was visiting her mother at her house, which was something she often did when she was in Tennessee.

Ashley was careful to clarify that she didn’t really want to reveal details about her mother’s death. She explained, “We’re aware that although grieving the loss of a wife and a mother, we are, in an uncanny way, a public family, 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.”

After explaining the events of the morning, Ashley explained the part that she didn’t really want to reveal. She explained more specifically how her mother took her own life, revealing that she was the one who found her mother’s body.

Watch the video below to hear Ashley explain how her mother Naomi committed suicide.

As mentioned in the video, it is very important to the Judd family that the story of Naomi’s tragic death is used to help other people who suffer from mental illness and suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, there is help available. You are not alone. Please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text “TALK” to 741-741, or visit