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remembering Naomi Judd

Ashley Judd opens up about mother Naomi Judd's battle with mental illness: She 'couldn't hang on'

Country singer Naomi Judd died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, her daughter Ashley Judd has revealed in an emotional interview.

The actress spoke with Diane Sawyer on Thursday's Good Morning America weeks after the death of her mother at 76. Naomi Judd died just before she was set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley Judd opened up in the interview about her mother's battle with the "very real" disease of mental illness, which led her to have "a lot of trouble getting off the sofa." 

"It lies," she said. "It's savage. Our mother couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing." 

Judd revealed her mother died by suicide using a firearm, a detail she said she's "very uncomfortable" sharing but decided to disclose because "we don't want it to be a part of the gossip economy." She also recalled discovering her mother had taken her own life while staying with her in Tennessee, telling GMA she's grappling with "both grief and trauma" as a result.

In a letter read on GMA, Ashley's sister, Wynonna Judd, said she's "not ready yet to speak publicly" about her mother's death but "just can't believe she's gone."