American country star Mindy McCready was found dead with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities in Arkansas said yesterday, just a month after her boyfriend died in a similar incident.
The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office said mother-of-two McCready, 37, was found dead on the front porch of a home in Heber Springs on Sunday afternoon.
Her sole UK chart appearance came in 1998, when Oh Romeo reached number 41. But McCready was well known in her home country, both for her musical talent and for her turbulent lifestyle.
McCready had tried to take her own life at least three times since 2005. Her death ended a series of tumultuous public events that marked much of her adult life.
She was found on the same porch where David Wilson, her long-time boyfriend and the father of her youngest son, is believed to have shot himself a month ago.
Shortly after Wilson’s death, she spoke of her heartbreak, saying: “I just keep telling myself that the more suffering that I go through, the greater character I’ll have.”
It was not clear yesterday what immediate circumstances led to McCready taking her own life, but it appears she was struggling again with substance abuse and having problems with the custody of her children.
Earlier this month she checked into court-ordered rehab and gave her children up to foster care after her father asked a judge to intervene, saying that she had stopped taking care of herself and her sons and was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.
McCready was a household name in American country music. In 1996, her song Guys Do It All the Time hit No 1 and its dig at male chauvinism endeared her to women. Her other big hits included Ten Thousand Angels, and the album of the same title sold two million copies.
But personal problems plagued her, including a custody battle with her mother over one of her sons. McCready took her older son, Zander, from her mother and the boy’s legal guardian, Gayle Inge, in late 2011. She fled to Arkansas over what she called child abuse fears. Authorities eventually found McCready in hiding and took the boy into custody.
She and David Wilson had a son Zayne, in April 2012. Zander has a different father.
In May 2010, she was briefly admitted to hospital after police responded to an overdose call at a home in Florida, owned by her mother. This followed a stint on US reality show Celebrity Rehab, where she declared herself clean from drugs.
In 2004, she was charged with obtaining the painkiller OxyContin fraudulently at a pharmacy. She pleaded guilty and was placed on three years’ probation. She broke the probation with a drink-driving arrest in May 2005, then attempted suicide in July and September of that year. She made another attempt to take her own life in December 2008.
Also that year, McCready was charged in Arizona with hindering prosecution and unlawful use of transportation, which stemmed from an alleged attempt in June 2005 to purchase two high-performance boats, but she claimed she was trying to stop a conman.
Growing up in Fort Myers, Florida, McCready took seven years of private vocal lessons and later sang in karaoke bars.
After winning a recording contract, she appeared in concert with country stars including George Strait and Tim McGraw.