Music legend Naomi Judd, who shot to stardom as one half of the country music duo "The Judds," unexpectedly passed away one day before being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Country music fans were devastated to learn about Naomi Judd's passing on April 30, 2022. Her daughters, Ashely and Wynonna Judd, initially said she died from a mental illness, but they eventually admitted Naomi took her own life.
The Judd sisters arranged a public memorial on May 15, 2022, to honor their late mother's legacy. Naomi's husband, Larry Strickland, was also at the event and spoke about her for the first time after her death.
Naomi Judd and husband Larry Strickland on February 6, 2004 | Source: Getty Images
WHAT DID LARRY STRICKLAND SAY ABOUT NAOMI JUDD?
During the emotional funeral, Larry Strickland got on stage next to Ashley and Wynonna Judd to share some details of Naomi's final days.
He explained that she flew alone from Georgia to Nashville to make it in time to the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony. Still, it was odd for her to take solo flights.
Larry Strickland and Naomi Judd on January 19, 2016 | Source: Getty Images
Strickland was also scared of letting her go to Nashville alone because he knew how "fragile" she was. Although she had no problems during the flight, she died by suicide shortly after.
After saying that Naomi was so friendly that she would start talking to anyone who made eye contact with her, Strickland shared fragments of an email he received from a stranger Naomi met during her flight from Georgia to Nashville.
The man wrote in the letter that he didn't know Naomi was famous, but she made their 90-minute flight entertaining, enlightening, and enjoyable.
Naomi Judd and husband Larry Strickland in 2005 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
Meeting Naomi made the stranger's life richer. She kept remarking how much she loved Strickland and the time they shared. The stranger wrote:
"Rest assured she loved you and had no qualms about telling me, a stranger on a plane that was so."
WHO IS LARRY STRICKLAND?
Naomi and Wynonna Judd might have been the most famous family members, but Larry Strickland was also a talented singer who even toured and recorded songs with Elvis Presley.
[Naomi Judd] went to psychiatric wards several times.
Born in North Carolina, Larry Strickland grew up with his preacher father, who loved Gospel music. After attending his first gospel concert at 12, he joined gospel quartets and performed across North Carolina.
In 1966, he had to join the military and spent four years as a US Army agent in Frankfurt, Germany. After returning to the States, he resumed his music career, met Judd in 1979, and married her in Nashville in 1989.
STRICKLAND'S MESSAGE TO PEOPLE WHOSE LOVED ONES BATTLE DEPRESSION
While Naomi Judd's death shocked everybody, she had previously opened up about her "debilitating and life-threatening" battle with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
She admitted to being in such a fragile mental state that she went to psychiatric wards several times. Although Naomi seemed okay on the outside, she was broken on the inside.
Naomi Judd's husband shared advice for the loved ones of people battling depression: they will need you every minute, so get ready to be by their sides. Rest in peace.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.