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Tribune News Service

Naomi Judd died from self-inflicted gunshot wound, daughter Ashley confirms

Naomi Judd fatally shot herself, her daughter Ashley revealed Thursday, less than two weeks after the country singer was found dead at home.

Judd, 76, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Ashley Judd told Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America,” saying she and her family didn’t want to share these private details but knew that they would come out eventually. So instead, she’s using her grief to bring awareness to mental illness to help others.

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

In their initial statement after Judd’s April 30 death, Ashley and sister Wynonna attributed their mother’s loss to “the disease of mental illness.”

A day after the singer’s death, she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as The Judds, a tearful ceremony that included musical tributes from Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Tommy Simms and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

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

CMT will air a live public memorial service, “Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration,” at Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, the network announced earlier this week.

“While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music,” the special’s producers said in a statement. “This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music.”

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