POSTED: Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 11:11pm
UPDATED: Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 11:20pm
CNN — Country music star Mindy McCready was found dead Sunday at her home in Arkansas from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the local sheriff's office said in a statement. She was 37.
Deputies from the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a report of gunshots fired Sunday afternoon and found McCready's body on the front porch, the statement read.
McCready leaves behind two boys, one of whom is 10 months old. The infant's father, record producer David Wilson, died of an apparent suicide last month.
The singer struggled with addiction and mental illness, often publicly. She appeared in an episode of "Celebrity Rehab" three years ago with Dr. Drew Pinsky, who said he contacted her 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."
McCready burst onto the music scene in 1996 with her debut album "10,000 Angels," and the chart-topping hit "Guys Do It All the Time."
In the past few years, McCready waged a public battle for custody of her elder son, Zander. She took the boy from her mother, who had 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, who was 5 at the time, and days later authorities found McCready hiding with Zander in a closet at her home.
Country music stars expressed their condolences Sunday on hearing news of McCready's death.
"I grew up listening to Mindy McCready ... so sad for her family tonight. Many prayers are going out to them," tweeted singer Carrie Underwood.
"It breaks my heart what addiction continues to take from this life," singer Wynonna Judd wrote in a series of tweets. "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."
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."
CNN's Elwyn Lopez contributed to this report.