Ashley Judd Confirms Naomi Judd Died by Suicide: 'The Lie the Disease Told Her Was So Convincing'

Ashley Judd gave an emotional interview on Thursday's Good Morning America, opening up about the "level of catastrophe" her mother was experiencing before she took her life last month

Editor's Note: This story includes graphic details of a death by suicide.

Ashley Judd is sharing more about her mother Naomi Judd's cause of death.

The actress told Diane Sawyer in an emotional interview that aired Thursday on Good Morning America that Naomi "used a weapon" when she died by suicide on April 30.

"Because we don't want it to be part of the gossip economy I will share with you that she used a weapon; my mother used a firearm," said Ashley, 54. "So that's the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we're in a position that if we don't say it, someone else is going to."

Ashley added that Naomi, who was 76 years old when she died, "was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked home."

"When we're talking about mental illness, it's very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease," she continued. "It's very real … it lies, it's savage."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd
Ashley and Naomi Judd. Theo Wargo/WireImage

Following the country legend's death — which Ashley and sister Wynonna Judd confirmed in an emotional statement obtained by PEOPLE at the time — multiple sources confirmed to PEOPLE that Naomi had died by suicide.

For more on Naomi Judd, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

The Judds were set to celebrate their induction into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame the following day/ Ashley and Wynonna, 57, attended the ceremony to accept the honor and gave a tearful but composed speech.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 06: Naomi Judd attends the American Humane Association's 2nd Annual Hero Dog Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 6, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/WireImage)
Naomi Judd. Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

"I'm gonna make this fast because my heart's broken — and I feel so blessed," Wynonna told the 800 people gathered in Nashville's CMA Theater for the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I mean, it's a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed."

"Our mother couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers," Ashley told Sawyer, 76, on Thursday's GMA. "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."

RELATED VIDEO: Country Legend Naomi Judd Died by Suicide After Longtime Struggle with Mental Health: Sources

On Wednesday, CMT and Sandbox Entertainment announced they are teaming up with the Judd family to honor Naomi's life with Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration, a live event airing Sunday.

The broadcast will include a commercial-free public memorial service for the country legend from the Ryman Auditorium at 6 p.m. ET.

"We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna, Ashley and Larry to present this live celebration of life for their mother and wife Naomi. While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music," CMT Producers said in a statement. "This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music."

Additional details on performers and special appearances have yet to be announced.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Related Articles