Ashley Judd is thanking the public for the outpouring of love after the death of her mother, Naomi Judd, at age 76.
The actress and humanitarian shared photos taken in the days since the Judds singer died on Saturday, reportedly by suicide. She shared how her family has been mourning the iconic country superstar — sending a poignant message to her mom, who long struggled with he mental health.
“Speechless,” is how Ashley began the post before detailing what the photos were of, including one alongside sister Wynonna Judd looking at the plaque inducting the mother-daughter act the Judds into the Country Music Hall of Fame one day after Naomi’s death.
The Kiss the Girls star shared photos of “my altar to mama,” which included a silhouette portrait from when Naomi was 11 as well as flowers, candles and a small booklet titled “grief therapy.”
Ashley went on to share that her family was gathered together celebrating Naomi’s life with song. Two videos showed them “singing hymns this evening” with one of her “bereft Pop,” Naomi’s gospel singer husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, “singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ for me on my sleeping porch.”
“Your outpouring is reaching me,” Ashley wrote to supporters. “Thank you for every thought, prayer, message, text, email, post, expression. We each are alone and we are in fellowship, broken and held, protected from nothing and sustained in everything. It’s the beginning of an old story, life and death, loss and life.”
She ended by writing, “Be free, my beautiful mother. Be free,” adding hash tags “#honorthymother” and “#honorthymusic.”
Naomi died on Saturday at the age of 76. One day later, Wynonna — with Ashley by her side — still attended the induction ceremony for The Judds.
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” Wynonna, 57, began her remarks. “I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.”
Ashley also spoke, through tears, telling the audience, “My mama loved you so much — and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.”
Naomi was a longtime advocate for mental health, having suffered from suicidal depression and anxiety. Multiple sources confirmed to People magazine that she died by suicide.
In statements immediately following Naomi’s death, Ashley said the sisters “lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” Strickland said, “Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.