ASHLAND, KY. (WOWK) – To the world she was known as Naomi Judd, but to her hometown of Ashland, Kentucky she was Diana Ellen Judd.

“It’s very difficult,” said Judd’s family friends, Janet Chatfield and Patty Kidd, “We’re very very sad, our hearts are broken. We love all of them in her family, we grew up with her sister and brothers too. She will be so missed. She was a wonderful person.”

Naomi was a nurse and single mom when she started singing professionally with her oldest daughter Wynonna.

“She was creative enough and determined enough to move on with this career,” said Judd family friend, Sue Dowdy. “She and Wynona just got the guitars out and just started and singing and harmonizing. There is nothing prettier than family harmony and she just made them. She’s a self-made woman.”

In their nearly three decade long career, the Judd’s released six studio albums, won five Grammy’s and nine country music awards.

“I was like the rest of everyone, I was starstruck you know,” said Dowdy. “Why wouldn’t you be? They are famous world renowned and just to watch them was just amazing and mesmerizing.”

Those in her hometown said they couldn’t be more proud of their local legend, describing her as generous, down to earth and kind.

“We’re all grieving because this is Country Music Highway and they represented Ashland and Boyd county very well,” said Dowdy. “They kind of put Ashland on the map.”

Naomi’s impact is seen in her hometown, having a stage dedicated in her name at Broadway Square and leaving behind her ballet slippers at the Paramount Theatre.

Community members say they are heartbroken and that they won’t forget her legacy. The city laid roses on Judd Concert Stage in her honor.

“She left quite a legacy here in Ashland and she’s loved by a lot of people,” said Chatfield and Judd. “The community will be very very sad. We’re very very proud of her and very very honored to have called her a friend.”

Dowdy says she hopes Judd will be remembered and honored for the years to come.

“Rest beautiful lady,” said Dowdy. “We will always miss you and love you. I’m sure she’s writing songs right now.”