ASHLAND — (TNS) Wynonna and Ashley Judd announced today their mother, Naomi Judd, died of “the disease of mental illness” at the age of 76.

The Ashland native was half of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds and were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. They had recently announced an arena tour set to begin in the fall.

The statement from daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd read: “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. 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. We are in unknown territory.” The statement did not elaborate further.

Upon hearing the news, Mayor Matt Perkins laid flowers at Judd Concert Stage on Broadway Square.

“This is a huge loss,” Perkins said. “It’s just sad and our hearts go out to the family and friends and fans across the world.”

Although the name had changed to Broadway Square, Perkins said it was important to the city to maintain a connection to the Judd family with the stage.

“It’s very appropriate that the stage there be named after them and that we recognize the legacy of their music,” he said. “They have given us so many reasons to be proud. They definitely put Ashland on the map.”

Tyson Compton met Judd when he was the marketing director for the Paramount Arts Center. He commented on social media: “My heart is breaking as I hear the news of Naomi Judd passing. I met her, Wynonna, and Ashley Judd during my years working at the Paramount Arts Center. She was always gracious, kind and generous. During one of her visits she asked if I would personally accept the ballet shoes she had worn as a girl, dancing on the Paramount stage. We still exchanged Christmas cards every year. I will miss her. Praying for peace for her daughters, Larry, her family and friends.”

Sue Dowdy, director of the Ashland Senior Center and former director of the Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, was close friends with the late Polly Judd, Naomi’s mother. She said she has fond memories of the family and recalls visits from Naomi Judd to help raise money for Rivercities Harvest.

“She had her own line of makeup and (the late) Margaret Adkins and I were invited onto the bus,” Dowdy said. “(Naomi) gave me a huge box of makeup she was selling. I was starstruck. I knew the family, but I was still star struck. I saved that box of makeup.”

She also said Judd was thoughtful and gracious, recalling driving Polly Judd to Nashville for a visit.

“They told me where they were gong to go for lunch — Bonefish Grill, near Nashville,” she said. “She handed me this little bag and it was a beautiful leopard scarf. She said, ‘I wore this one time, but I thought you’d like it because I think you wear the same kinds of things I wear.’ Later, she send me a gift card for Bonefish Grill to thank me for bringing her mother down. That’s the kind of person she was. She was very thoughtful.”

Dowdy also remembered a funny story about the family: “One time, Polly called and Naomi had been visiting and she said, ‘She left her favorite bra here, the one she sleeps in, so I washed it,’ and Polly and I were going to Huntington to see Willie Nelson at the civic center, and he was going to see Naomi in Texas, so she put that bra and a bag and gave it to Willie to take to Naomi.”

The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, which features the Judds in its Country Music Highway exhibit stated on social media: “The Highlands is deeply grieved to hear of the passing of Naomi Judd. She was truly a gifted entertainer who brought much light to the world and has earned her place in Country Music history. We offer our condolences to her family, friends and fans all over the world.”

The Judds had 14 No. 1 songs in their nearly three-decade career. They stopped performing in 1991 after Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis.

The Judds’ hits included “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1990,”Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Why Not Me” in 1984,”Turn It Loose” in 1988, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” in 1986 and “Grandpa” in 1986.

Born Diana Ellen Judd in Ashland, Naomi was working as a nurse in Nashville when she and Wynonna started singing together professionally. Their unique harmonies, together with elements of acoustic music, bluegrass and blues, made them stand out in the genre at the time.

In addition to her daughters, Judd is survived by her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland, who was a backup singer for Elvis Presley.