A day after Naomi Judd’s death, the previously scheduled induction of the Judds into the Country Music Hall of Fame will go ahead as planned, with Naomi’s daughter Wynonna expected to attend, a rep for the Hall tells Variety. As the Judds, Naomi and Wynonna were one of the most successful country acts of the past 40 years, although they initially parted in 1991.
“The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum joins family and fans in grieving the sudden loss of Naomi Judd,” the statement reads. “Following the wishes of the Judd family, the museum will move forward with the Medallion Ceremony on Sunday, May 1, with Wynonna planning on being in attendance. In addition to The Judds, Eddie Bayers, Ray Charles and Pete Drake will be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Public red carpet arrivals are cancelled.”
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In a subsequent statement, the Hall’s CEO Kyle Young said, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds. Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.”
Naomi, a singer and television star who was famous for nearly four decades as the matriarch of the Judds, died Saturday at the age of 76. No cause of death was immediately given, although in a statement daughters Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd attributed their mother’s death to “the disease of mental illness.”
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” the statement said in a statement on social media. “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.”
A statement from Naomi Judd’s publicist said that her husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland, “will not be making any further statements. Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
The Judds had also recently announced a farewell tour, the first by Naomi and Wynonna in more than a decade. The short, 10-date tour, which was being produced by Sandbox Live and Live Nation, was to commence Sept. 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and wrap up Oct. 28 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. “What I’m looking forward to most is celebrating Judd music with the fans,” said Wynonna in a statement when the tour was announced. “Mom and I have had quite the journey over the last 38 years, and the fans have been with us through it all. This tour is a celebration for them.” Three of the arena shows, including the Nashville finale, had sold out, according to the Judds’ social media.
The Judds sang on the CMT Music Awards telecast and walked the red carpet just this month. The show aired live on CBS April 11, the same day the duo announced the reunion/goodbye tour.
As a duo, the Judds had remained mostly dormant in recent decades, with periodic reunions. They parted for the first time after doing what was billed as a final show in 1991, at a time when Naomi Judd had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Following that, Wynonna embarked on a successful career as a solo artist while her mother raised awareness about the disease. They reunited for the Power to Change Tour at the turn of the millennium.
See Variety’s full obituary of Naomi Judd here.
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