Mindy McCready, a country singer better known recently for her ongoing personal troubles than for her string of late-'90s hits, died Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at her Arkansas home, the Cleburne County sheriff said.
Sheriff Marty Moss said his office received a call to the McCready home around 3:30 p.m. in Heber Springs, Ark., west of Memphis and north of Little Rock. "Ms. McCready is deceased from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Moss told USA TODAY.
In a statement, he said officers found McCready's body on the front porch. The case is under investigation; an autopsy will be conducted.
Sunday night, Dateline NBC correspondent Andrea Canning tweeted, "Just got a call from Mindy McCready's best friend that she shot and killed herself this evening." Nashville television reporter Stacy McCloud tweeted that four sources had confirmed the singer's suicide.
As the news spread, members of the country music community began tweeting their reactions, including Carrie Underwood, who wrote, "I grew up listening to Mindy McCready ... so sad for her family tonight."
"I will pray for her children and I hope that people are gentle with her memory," Chely Wright tweeted.
McCready's country hits included her 1996 debut single, Ten Thousand Angels, and the chart-topping Guys Do It All the Time. She released her last album, I'm Still Here, in 2010.
Canning interviewed McCready for Dateline after the singer's boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last month.
"I just started screaming, calling 911" after Wilson shot himself, McCready told Canning. "I laid down next to him. I just pleaded with him not to die."
McCready entered rehab shortly after Wilson's death.
The couple's son, Zayne, was born last April. McCready also had a 6-year-old son, Zander.
McCready moved to Nashville from Florida when she was 18, handing out copies of her karaoke recordings. She signed to RCA Records within a year. In 1996, USA TODAY gave her first album a three-star review, writing "McCready's voice is both genuine and pretty."
As she prepared for her first tour, she told USA TODAY, "I'm scared to death. I sing so good in the shower, and then I get out onstage and I'm, like, quivering and fixing to cry."
In 1997, she became engaged to Dean Cain, star of TV's Lois & Clark, though the couple split in 1998. She also claimed to have had a long-term affair with baseball pitcher Roger Clemens that began when she was 15.
Over the past decade, McCready made more headlines for her run-ins with the law than for her music, with arrests for buying painkillers with a fake prescription, identity theft, battery and violating probation.
She had attempted suicide at least three times, in 2006 and 2008.
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