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Mindy McCready dead at 37

Country music star Mindy McCready died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She was 37.

CNN reports that McCready also appears to have shot and killed a dog that belonged to her late boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, before shooting herself.

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“A perfect storm” hit Mindy McCready in the days before the country singer killed herself in the same spot where her boyfriend had died five weeks earlier, a close friend said.

McCready, who burst onto the music scene in 1996 with the chart-topping country hit “Guys Do It All the Time,” suffered from addiction that stalled her career. Her biggest notoriety in recent years came from her participation in the 2009 season of the reality TV show “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.”

Private investigator Danno Hanks, who knew McCready for several years and frequently advised her, said she called him Saturday, a day before she died from what investigators have said was a self-inflicted gunshot.

“Saturday was a very bad day for her,” Hanks said.

McCready, 37, told him about an e-mail she received on Friday from the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services that included a proposed court order that would send her two children to live with her mother in Florida.

“The proposed court order was the nail in her coffin, the thing that sent her over the edge,” Hanks said.

The Arkansas agency declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws.

“When we take children into our care, reunification with the biological parents is always our goal,” spokeswoman Amy Webb told CNN. “Sometimes it’s not safe and we cannot.”

McCready’s world unraveled in the 35 days after David Wilson, the father of her younger son, was found fatally wounded on the porch of the Heber Springs, Arkansas, home where the couple lived, Hanks said.

“After the suicide, she essentially fell apart,” Hanks said.

McCready couldn’t go to the hospital to spend Wilson’s dying hours with him because investigators held her to test her hands for gunshot residue, he said. The test eliminated her as a suspect in the shooting, he said, but the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office withheld a conclusion that Wilson had committed suicide until the autopsy report was completed.

Tabloids reported that McCready was a suspect in his death.

“There was no murder investigation,” Hanks said. “All the police ever said was, ‘We have not finished our investigation.’ “

Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss did not return CNN’s calls for comment Tuesday.

McCready told an NBC interviewer two weeks after Wilson’s death that the speculation was painful.

“I was hurting so bad, and then they just did whatever they could to make it hurt even more,” she said.

It wasn’t long before a children’s services worker knocked on her door in response to a request from the father of her oldest son, country singer Billy McKnight, he said.

“The father felt that she was a danger to her kids and a danger to herself and she had gone into this deep depression and needed to go and get some mental evaluation,” Hanks said.

The agent placed both children into foster care after McCready tested positive for alcohol, which McCready blamed on mouthwash, Hanks said.

McCready, who was also taken into custody for a mental exam, was given a urine and blood test, which showed no drugs or alcohol in her system, he said.

A doctor released her after several days, he said.

“What he was doing was sending home someone who is now made even more distraught by having her children taken away and sending her home to a house that just had a lots of guns because David was a gun nut,” he said.

Her hopes of getting her children back were dashed by that proposed court order from the state agency on Friday, he said. The order would send the boys to their maternal grandmother, with whom McCready had fought for custody of her oldest son for five years, he said.

“In Mindy’s mind, a proposed order might as well be written in stone because every proposed order that had been presented in the past down in Florida courts, the judge would just rubber-stamp it,” he said.

The combined toll of 35 days of bad news, starting with Wilson’s death, took a heavy toll on her, Hanks said

“You have this perfect storm of several things that happened to her in succession,” he said. “His suicide, her kids being taken away from her, the feeling that the media was out to get her, because they were putting out these reports that she was under suspicion in his murder.”

McCready’s last day was focused on getting the world to hear a song, he said. “I’ll See You Yesterday” was the last thing she recorded with Wilson, who was a music producer. “It’s such a beautiful song. It must be heard,” she told NBC.

She sang:

“I was your sunlight, but now I’m just a shade

“I was your blue sky, now I’m just the rain

“I was your favorite song, but now I’m overplayed

“If tomorrow’s gonna be the same, I’ll see you yesterday.”

McCready asked Hanks to help her get it played on the radio. She also asked him to upload it to YouTube along with photos of her and Wilson.

“She was anxious to get this video posted,” he said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t realize what the urgency.”

She told him she wanted it to be a suicide prevention public service announcement, he said.

“In retrospect, I realize what she was not revealing was that her true reason was that this was her suicide video,” he said. “She wanted it out there because she knew that the video would get more play after she committed her suicide. She wanted the world at the end to know how she had been treated and mistreated and all the stuff that she had gone through.”

Her last wish came true. The video has gone viral, getting hundreds of thousands of views since her death. Country radio stations are playing her song.

“If these people had reached out to her in life as they have in death, maybe it would be a different outcome,” Hanks said. “If she had known how many fans that she had out there and how many supporters she truly did have, she might have had the courage to go on. But I think she just felt she was alone, that nobody cared about what was happening to her.”

In the NBC interview aired on the “Today” show last month, McCready summed it up: “My life hasn’t ever really made sense to me, because I do know what kind of person I am and I do know that I try to be as good a person as I can possibly be every day.”
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They seemed so triumphant at the time, the lyrics to country music star Mindy McCready’s hope-filled title track to her most recent album, “I’m Still Here.”

“On a cold dark cloud, with nowhere to fall but down, like a single, naked, unrelenting tear … I’m still here.”

Now, those words sound like a cry for help.

On Sunday, McCready, whose turbulent personal life overshadowed her music, was found dead on the front porch of her Arkansas home — victim, authorities said, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She was 37.

McCready also appears to have shot and killed a dog that belonged to her late boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, before shooting herself, Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss said Monday.

McCready leaves behind two sons — 6-year-old Zander and 10-month-old Zane.

“Zane and Zander are loved, cared for and comfortable with foster families at this time,” her representative told CNN in a statement.

Just a month earlier, police had paid another visit to the house in Heber Springs.

On that day, they found Wilson, the infant’s father, dead on the porch.

He too had apparently taken his own life. He too had used a gun.

Spiraling downward

McCready burst onto the music scene in 1996 with her debut album, “Ten Thousand Angels.”

It sold more than 2 million copies. Her chart-topping hit “Guys Do It All The Time” followed that same year.

In all, she put 14 songs and six of her albums on the Billboard country charts.

But through it all, she was spiraling downward; the final fall was painful and precipitous.

She struggled with addiction and mental illness, often publicly.

In 2004, McCready was placed on three years’ probation after she pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining the painkiller OxyContin at a pharmacy.

The next year, she was arrested in Nashville for drunken driving, and was allegedly beaten and choked by ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight, who was charged with attempted murder.

“Yes, things have been going bad,” she told CNN in 2005. “I think it’s God’s way of getting my attention, saying, ‘You better wake up, girl. I have important stuff for you to do in life,’ and I’ve definitely been preoccupied or sidetracked doing the wrong things.”

Before 2005 ended, McCready had suffered two drug overdoses, was arrested on drug charges, was pregnant with McKnight’s child and, authorities say, attempted suicide.

She attempted suicide again in 2008, authorities say, and overdosed again on drugs in 2010 before joining the cast of VH1′s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The reality show chronicles the lives of celebrities as they’re treated for alcohol and drug addiction.

Celebrity rehab

Dr. Drew Pinsky said he contacted McCready last month after her boyfriend’s death.

“When I heard she was struggling, I did reach out to her and urged her to go to take care of herself, get in a facility if she felt she needed,” said Pinsky, who hosts a program on CNN’s sister network HLN.

“Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself. And this to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”

On one episode of the show, McCready performed “I’m Still Here,” dedicating it to the other cast members, who included Dennis Rodman, Heidi Fleiss and Mackenzie Phillips.

“When I was writing this song, I was in jail,” the singer said tearfully. “I never knew it, but I was writing for all of you.”

Custody battle

In recent years, McCready had waged a public battle for custody of her elder son, Zander, whose father is McKnight.

In 2011, she took the boy from her mother, who had legal custody, and fled with him to her home in Arkansas, saying she had concerns over his safety.

A judge ordered authorities to pick up the boy and, days later, authorities found the boy and McCready in a closet at her home.

In addition to her relationship with McKnight, McCready had romances with musician David Malloy and actor Dean Cain; she also said she had had an affair with baseball player Roger Clemens, which he didn’t confirm or deny.

But Clemens did issue a statement Monday from training camp with the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Florida. “Yes, this is sad news,” he said. “I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice.”

In 2010, Vivid Entertainment released a porn video called “Mindy McCready, Baseball Mistress” that featured McCready having sex with a man referred to as “Peter” and talking about her exploits with Clemens.

Country outpouring

Sunday night, country music stars offered their condolences as they learned of McCready’s death.

“My heart goes out to Mindy McCready’s family. I knew her well,” singer LeAnn Rimes said on Twitter. “It’s a horrible tragedy. May peace be with her sons.”

Carrie Underwood said she grew up listening to McCready. And country artist Terri Clark said she had had some fun times with her “back in the day.”

“I hope our society shows compassion and realizes the severity and reality of mental illness, and addiction,” she tweeted.

Singer Wynonna Judd posted a series of tweets also calling attention to addiction and mental illness.

“It breaks my heart what addiction continues to take from this life,” she said. “Addiction is a disEASE & not a character flaw. When the pain becomes too much, it causes people to want that pain to stop. This is just so unbelieveable & so sad.”

In her words

A year ago, McCready posted excerpts of a book she said was upcoming about her life. She acknowledged a difficult upbringing, personal problems and the challenges she faced turning her life around.

“I haven’t had a hit in almost a decade,” she wrote in January 2012 on her official fan website. “I’ve spent my fortune, tarnished my public view and made myself the brunt of punch line after punch line.

“I’ve been beaten, sued, robbed, arrested, jailed, and evicted.

“But I’m still here. With a handful of people that I know and trust, a revived determination, and both middle fingers up in the air, I’m ready. I’ve been here before. I’m a fighter. I’m down, but I’ll never be out.”

But Sunday, on the porch of her home, she may have changed her mind.

On Monday, McCready’s publicist asked that the family be left alone.

“It is with the deepest sadness we say goodbye to an extraordinary and gifted talent, a daughter, a mother and friend, Miss Mindy McCready,” said Kat Atwood in a statement.

“Our attention at this time is devoted to the needs and care of Mindy’s family. As Mindy spent much of her life in the public eye, we respectfully request your consideration and sensitivity to enable friends and family this time of ‘quiet.’”

Planning is under way by McCready’s “friends in music” to organize a memorial in Nashville, she said.
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TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

They seemed so triumphant at the time: the lyrics to country music star Mindy McCready’s hope-filled title track to her most-recent album “I’m Still Here.”

Now, those words sound like a cry for help. mindy-mccreedy-dead

“On a cold dark cloud, with nowhere to fall but down, like a single, naked, unrelenting tear … I’m still here.”

On Sunday, McCready, whose turbulent personal life overshadowed her music, was found dead on the front porch of her Arkansas home — the victim, authorities said, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She was 37.

McCready leaves behind two boys — a 6-year-old and a 10-month-old.

Just a month earlier, police had paid another visit to the house in Heber Springs.

On that day, they found the infant’s father — record producer David Wilson — dead on the porch.

He too had apparently taken his own life. He too had used a gun.

Spiraling downward

McCready burst onto the music scene in 1996 with her debut album “Ten Thousand Angels.”

It sold more than 2 million copies. Her chart-topping hit “Guys Do It All The Time” followed that same year.

In all, she put 14 songs and six of her albums on the Billboard Country charts.

But through it all, she was spiraling downward. And the fall was painful and precipitous.

She struggled with addiction and mental illness, often publicly.

In 2004, McCready was placed on three years’ probation after she pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining the painkiller OxyContin at a pharmacy.

The next year, she was arrested for drunk driving in Nashville, and was beaten and choked by ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight, who was charged with attempted murder.

“Yes, things have been going bad,” she said in a CNN interview in 2005. “I think it’s God’s way of getting my attention saying, ‘You better wake up, girl. I have important stuff for you to do in life,’ and I’ve definitely been preoccupied or sidetracked doing the wrong things.”

Before 2005 ended, McCready had suffered two drug overdoses, was arrested on drug charges, was pregnant with McKnight’s child and, authorities say, attempted suicide.

She attempted suicide again in 2008, authorities say, and had another drug overdose in 2010 before joining the cast of VH1′s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The reality show chronicles the life of celebrities as they’re treated for alcohol and drug addiction.

Celebrity rehab

Dr. Drew Pinsky said he contacted McCready last month after her boyfriend’s death.

“When I heard she was struggling, I did reach out to her and urged her to go to take care of herself, get in a facility if she felt she needed,” said Pinsky, who hosts his own program on CNN’s sister network HLN.

“Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself. And this to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”

On one episode of the show, McCready performed “I’m Still Here,” dedicating it to the other cast members, which included Dennis Rodman, Heidi Fleiss and Mackenzie Phillips.

“When I was writing this song, I was in jail,” the singer said tearfully. “I never knew it, but I was writing for all of you.”

Custody battle

In the past few years, McCready waged a public battle for custody of her elder son, Zander.

In 2011, she took the boy from her mother, who had legal custody, and fled with him to her home in Arkansas, saying she had concerns over his safety.

A judge ordered authorities to pick up the boy and days later authorities found McCready hiding with Zander in a closet at her home.

In addition to her relationship with McKnight, McCready had romances with musician David Malloy and actor Dean Cain — as well as admitting to an affair with baseball player Roger Clemens, which he didn’t confirm or deny.

In 2010, Vivid Entertainment released a porn video called “Mindy McCready, Baseball Mistress” that featured McCready having sex with a boyfriend referred to as “Peter” and talking about her exploits with Clemens.

Country outpouring

Sunday night, country music stars offered their condolences as they learned of McCready’s death.

“My heart goes out to Mindy McCready’s family. I knew her well,” LeAnn Rimes said on Twitter. “It’s a horrible tragedy. May peace be with her sons.”

Carrie Underwood said she grew up listening to McCready. And country artist Terri Clark said she had some fun times with her “back in the day.”

“I hope our society shows compassion and realizes the severity and reality of mental illness, and addiction,” she tweeted.

Singer Wynonna Judd posted a series of tweets also calling attention to addiction and mental illness.

“It breaks my heart what addiction continues to take from this life,” she said. “Addiction is a disEASE & not a character flaw. When the pain becomes too much, it causes people to want that pain to stop. This is just so unbelieveable & so sad.”

In her words

A year ago, McCready posted excerpts of a book she said was upcoming about her life. She acknowledged a difficult upbringing, personal problems and the challenges she faced turning her life around.

“I haven’t had a hit in almost a decade,” she wrote in January 2012 on her official fan website. “I’ve spent my fortune, tarnished my public view and made myself the brunt of punch line after punch line.

“I’ve been beaten, sued, robbed, arrested, jailed, and evicted.

“But I’m still here. With a handful of people that I know and trust, a revived determination, and both middle fingers up in the air, I’m ready. I’ve been here before. I’m a fighter. I’m down, but I’ll never be out.”

But Sunday, on the porch of her home, she may have changed her mind.

CNN’s Elwyn Lopez and Melissa Gray contributed to this report.
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TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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