Mindy McCready Dies In Apparent Suicide

Sky News US Team

Mindy McCready, who hit the top of the country charts before personal problems sidetracked her career, has died in an apparent suicide.

The 37-year-old was found dead on the front porch of her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas, on Sunday from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

It comes a month after the death of McCready's long-term boyfriend David Wilson, the father of one of her two sons.

He is believed to have shot himself on the same porch of their home and she had previously spoken about finding him as he lay dying.

McCready had attempted suicide in the past.

The singer entered court-ordered rehab earlier this month after her father told a judge she was no longer taking care of herself or her children and was abusing drugs and alcohol.

Her sons were put in foster care at the time, but it was not clear where Zander, six, and 10-month-old Zayne were when McCready died.

The death of McCready's boyfriend, a record producer, had hit her hard. In interviews, she called him her soulmate and said she had never gone through anything as painful as his death.

"I just keep telling myself that the more suffering that I go through, the greater character I'll have," she said in interview with NBC's Today Show.

She also answered questions about whether they had argued earlier that evening about an affair and if she had shot him.

She told the show: "No. Oh, my God. No. He was my life. We were each other's life."

Major country stars paid their respects on Twitter to the onetime Nashville darling.

"Too much tragedy to overcome. R.I.P Mindy McCready," wrote Natalie Maines, of The Dixie Chicks.

In 1996, within two years of arriving in Nashville, McCready scored a number-one hit with Guys Do It All the Time.

Other hits included Ten Thousand Angels, also in 1996, and her album by that title sold two million copies.

She spent the next 15 years chasing another hit as personal problems began to plague her, including an overdose and a custody battle with her mother over her elder son, whose father was her ex-boyfriend Billy Knight.

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 was arrested for drink-driving in May 2005 and, a few days after that arrest, she had a physical fight with McKnight that led to him spending 30 days in jail.

"It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time," McCready said in 2010.

"I call my life a beautiful mess and organised chaos.

"It's just always been like that. My entire life things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself."