Naomi Judd's Cause Of Death Leaves Fans With So Many Unanswered Questions

The world was shocked to learn that country star Naomi Judd died at the age of 76. It was her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, who shared the news of her passing, telling the Associated Press in a statement, "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."

They did not share more about the cause of death. Fans immediately had questions. 

Backing up, in 2016, the star opened up about her "completely debilitating and life-threatening" battle with depression (via ABC News). Judd confided that she was not the picture-perfect country singer her fans know and love, admitting that she had spent time in psychiatric wards when she was out of the public eye and became so depressed, she wouldn't leave her home for weeks at a time and in her words, did "not practice normal hygiene."

The then 70-year-old called her depression "extreme" at that time and told ABC's Robin Roberts that her reason for sharing her story was, "If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive."

The timing of Naomi Judd's death also leaves fans with questions

Given Naomi Judd's "extreme" experience with depression, upon hearing the news of her death, fans were left to wonder how the longtime country staple actually died (via ABC News). 

Her husband Larry Strickland, to whom she was married to for 32 years, only added the color that Judd passed away near Nashville, Tennessee but no more information was at the ready for devastated fans.

Adding more mystery, the timing of the star's death is also very curious given that according to The Washington Post, her future looked bright. Sunday, May 1, 2022 was to be the day The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, their stadium tour was set to kick off this upcoming fall, with performance dates scheduled in multiple states across the country, from Michigan, to South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alabama and Texas. 

This was to be their last tour after a decade-long hiatus (via Taste of Country).

Fans are speculating about how Naomi Judd died

Twitter immediately began talking about how Naomi Judd may have died following her daughters' statement. Many fans speculated that tragically, the singer may have taken her own life. But others pointed out that Judd had been battling hepatitis C for decades.

As Healthline reports, in the 1990s the star disclosed her positive status, stating she got infected from a needle stick during the time she had worked as a nurse. The outlet notes that Judd's illness seemed to be under control, although it's important to note that hepatitis C can cause serious complications such as liver failure according to the Mayo Clinic.

Even if the virus was an issue for Judd as of late, this still doesn't explain her daughters' disclosure about "mental illness" claiming their mother's life. Other Twitter users wondered if the singer had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, but as others pointed out, her most recent appearance on the CMT Awards with her daughter Wynonna did not suggest as much.

The show will go on to the delight of devoted fans

Naomi Judd's memory will be kept alive in many ways, including through her 2016 memoir, "River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope." In the tome, the star talked very openly about her battle with mental illness, at one point talking about the "boulder-like weight of [her] severe treatment-resistant depression and terrifying panic attacks" (via Fox News). Although she clearly got help for her depression and perhaps anxiety, the singer also claimed in the book that mental health disorders can be difficult to diagnose. 

Another way that fans will be able to experience Judd's legacy is via her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which as CEO Kyle Young shared via Twitter, is still happening despite the devastating loss of half of The Judds. "We are shocked and saddened by the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of the @juddsofficial," he wrote Saturday, adding her family requested they move forward. "We will do so, with heavy hearts" he said (via CNN).

The announcement that the show will go on was met with praise from fans, who called the decision "bittersweet" and noted "There won't be a dry eye in the house."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.