The Judds are one of the most famous music duos of all time, and certainly the most well-known mother-daughter duo in the industry. With five Grammy wins, nine Country Music Association Awards (CMAs) and hits going back to the 1980s, mom Naomi and daughter Wynonna Judd were a shoo-in for a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
But tragically, before the duo could accept this great honor together, Naomi Judd died on April 30, just a day before the ceremony on May 1. She was 76.
Naomi’s younger daughter, actor and activist Ashley Judd, shared the sad news on Twitter, writing:
“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.”
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.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) April 30, 2022
Despite Naomi’s passing, the sisters decided to proceed with the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony in order to honor their mother and The Judds’ amazing legacy.
In a touching speech, a teary Wynonna told the audience she’d assumed her mom would be there to say more that night.
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” she said, pausing to let the audience give a knowing laugh. “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. Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.”
Ashley also gave a tearful tribute, including showering praise on her sister and calling her a “GOAT” — slang for “Greatest of All Time,” but as Wynonna’s confused face revealed, not everyone understood the reference, leading to another much-needed laugh after such an emotional evening.
Alongside The Judds, other iconic performers were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The late Ray Charles was inducted, and Garth Brooks honored his musical legacy with a rendition of “Seven Spanish Angels,” a song that Charles recorded in 1984 with Willie Nelson.