Monday, February 18, 2013

Country Singer Mindy McCready Dead of Apparent Suicide


Mindy McCready, the 37-year-old country singer originally from Ft. Myers, Florida, died this afternoon of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a lake home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. The New York Daily News reported at 9:15 pm EST that her brother, Josh McCready, confirmed the singer’s death.
Update, 10:15 pm EST: The following statement now appears on the website of the Sheriff’s Office of Cleburne County, Arkansas.
“At 3:31 PM, Sunday, February 17th Deputies from the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of gun shots fired in the area of 1132 Fox Chase Drive in Heber Springs. Officers arrived on the scene at 3:58 PM and discovered the body of 37 year old Melinda Gayle McCready on the front porch of the residence at 1132 Fox Chase. Ms. McCready was pronounced dead at the scene from what appears to be a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. At this time family members have been notified of the incident. Ms. Mcready will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy and the matter will be fully investigated.”
Her death comes exactly five weeks, almost to the hour, after the apparent suicide of David Wilson, her record producer boyfriend and father of her infant boy.
McCready was ordered on February 6th to check into a rehabilitation clinic ten days ago due to family concerns for her well-being following Wilson’s death. Billy Dukes at A Taste of Country reported that she was released a few days later for outpatient treatment but her two boys remained in foster care.
In addition to nine-month-old Zayne, McCready has a six-year-old son, Zander, with her former boyfriend Billy McKnight. McKnight served 30 days in prison for physically attacking McCready in 2005.
News of McCready’s death broke on Twitter with the message above from NBC Dateline correspondent, Andrea Canning. (Note added: I’ve since found that Stacy McCloud, Fox17 Nashville reporter, tweeted the same news 12 minutes earlier.)
Canning had an exclusive interview with McCready on January 29th as Arkansas investigators continued their probe of Wilson’s death. Canning had asked McCreary about her possible role in the shooting:
“Oh my god, no. Oh my god, no,” McCready responded. “He was my life. We were each other’s life. There’s no way to tell where one of us began and the other ended. We slept together every night holding hands.”
The property at the address of 1132 Fox Chase Road (not Drive) in Heber Springs, Arkansas is owned by a family trust that includes David C. Wilson. The 1,400 square-foot home was built in 1970 and valued in 2012 at $141,555 plus $300,000 for the lakefront lot on Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs. The property appears to have been in the Wilson family since at least June 1, 1995.
This January 14th press release implies that Wilson shot himself at the same property on the 13th.
McCready broke onto the country music scene in 1996 with her #1 hit, “Guys Do It All the Time,” from her double platinum album entitled, “Ten Thousand Angels.” Billboard magazine has posted a compilation of her chart history: a total of 12 songs charted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs between 1996 and 2002. Her final album, 2010′s “I’m Still Here,” rose to only #71 for one week. McCready sold 1.8 million records during her career, 1.2 million of which were her first, recorded with BNA Records (now a label of Sony Music).
Fans may also appreciate this acoustic version of “I’m Still Here” from McCready’s 2010 appearance on the Fox News show, Fox and Friends.
“Underdog from birth”
In 2011, McCready began publishing excerpts of an upcoming autobiography on her fan page. From her first chapter, she wrote:
I was an underdog from birth. I was born into an unhealthy house ruled by a mother who was too young and too violent to successfully take care of children. My two brothers who would eventually look to me for rescue came later. Nature gave me the ability to sing and favorable looks. My mother taught me the art of manipulation and convenient detachment. My father taught me to depend on no one. My brothers showed me the necessity to succeed and sever the dependence on our parents. Armed with this, I graduated high school early and moved to Nashville to be a star.
The last entry for her book, Chapter 3, was dated June 4, 2012.
McCready’s lifelong struggles with depression and alcohol and substance dependence were perhaps best known from her appearance in Season 3 (2010) of the VH1 series, “Celebrity Rehab,” with Dr. Drew Pinsky. One episode captured her having a detoxification seizure while chatting with roommate and actress, Mackenzie Phillips.
Country music stars came out on Twitter acknowledging her struggles. Singer Terri Clark wrote, “I hope our society shows compassion and realizes the severity and reality of mental illness, and addiction.”
Wynnona Judd wrote a long series of tweets about her own addiction and those in judgement of McCreary and others suffering from substance dependence:
“People who don’t understand addiction can easily judge. I myself am a recovery story. I don’t for 1 minute consider myself weak in character. I am addicted to the word “More.” It has almost killed me. Tonight I sang with such a heavy heart for Mindy & for those who still struggle with this dis EASE. I will always be reminded of how what happened to Mindy could have easily happened to me.”
In 2004, McCready was arrested for using a fake prescription to obtain the opioid analgesic, OxyContin. McCready had been reported to have made at least three previous suicide attempts, twice in 2005 and again in 2008. She was involved in a bitter child custody battle with her mother that appears to have continued until her death.
A timeline of McCready’s “long, tortured journey” has been assembled from various sources by Chelsea J. Carter at CNN.com.

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