Naomi Judd’s family says she was ‘dogged by an unfair foe’ of PTSD and bipolar disorder as autopsy is released

Legendary country artist Naomi Judd died by suicide, an autopsy report released on Friday revealed, confirming multiple reports.

The report, which was obtained by the Associated Press, indicated that the “Love Can Build a Bridge” singer died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her Tennessee home on April 30. She was 76.

The public record also noted that Judd, who had been open about her lifelong struggles with mental health, had prescription drugs in her system used to treat both post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder at the time of her death.

“We have always shared openly both the joys of being family as well its sorrows, too. One part of our story is that our matriarch was dogged by an unfair foe,” the family said in a statement to the AP. “She was treated for PTSD and bipolar disorder, to which millions of Americans can relate.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Debby Wong/Shutterstock (9710029cb) Naomi Judd CMA Music Festival, Day 4, Nashville, USA - 10 Jun 2018
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Debby Wong/Shutterstock (9710029cb) Naomi Judd CMA Music Festival, Day 4, Nashville, USA – 10 Jun 2018

Debby Wong/Shutterstock Naomi Judd in 2018

Judd’s youngest daughter, actress Ashley Judd, revealed that her mother had died from a firearm wound in a May interview with Good Morning America, explaining that she wanted to prevent her cause of death from becoming public knowledge without the family’s consent. Since then, her family has taken multiple steps to keep her death private, including filing a petition to seal death investigation transcripts and recordings, which they claim would cause “significant trauma and irreparable harm,” PEOPLE reports.

Judd died on April 30, just one day before she and daughter Wynonna Judd — who with her mother made up the Grammy-winning duo the Judds — were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the sisters said in a statement posted on Ashley’s social media. “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.”

In July, Ashley told the Healing With David Kessler podcast that she hoped her mother was able to “let go of any guilt or shame that she carried for any shortcomings she may have had” as a parent “when she transitioned.”

“I look back on my childhood, and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness,” she said. “And there are different behavioral expressions, interactions, flights of fancy, choices that she made that I understand were an expression of the disease, and I understand that and know that she was in pain, and can today understand that she was absolutely doing the best she could, and if she could have done it differently, she would have.”

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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