The exact cause of Naomi Judd’s death has been revealed, as her daughter, Ashley Judd, told Good Morning America that her mother died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“She used a weapon…a firearm,” Ashley told GMA on Thursday. “So that’s the piece of information we’re very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position, that if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.” Ashley said that she was the one who discovered her mother’s body, and added that “I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.”
Ashley said she chose to disclose the cause of her mother’s death so that the family could control the flow of information before her autopsy was released.
In a joint statement announcing Naomi’s passing on April 30th, Ashley and sister Wynonna Judd said, “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,” the statement continued. “We are in unknown territory.”
Naomi’s death came on the eve of The Judds’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, into which she was posthumously inducted. This fall, they were slated to embark on their first US tour together in a decade.
The 76-year-old country music legend had spoken openly about her mental health, writing in her 2016 memoir that she suffered from suicidal depression. “Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there,” Naomi told PEOPLE in an interview. “Think of your very worst day of your whole life – someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
You can watch Judd’s interview with GMA on ABC’s website.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) is available 24/7 across the United States.