Unfortunately, the news didn’t come as much of a surprise. On a Sunday evening two years ago today, word started circulating around Nashville and the country music community that Mindy McCready had died. The reports were, in fact, tragically true: the troubled singer was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the front porch of her Arkansas home. She was 37.
Despite the latter half of her life being defined by tabloid headlines, McCready started out as a promising new female voice in country music. Her 1996 debut album Ten Thousand Angels went on to sell more than two million copies and produced the Number One single “Guys Do It All the Time.” An upbeat radio-ready anthem about women mimicking the bad behavior of their men, the song championed equality between the sexes, albeit with a wink. Yet it was Ten Thousand Angels‘ vulnerable title track that best showed off McCready’s honeyed singing style. Hers was an ever-smooth delivery, with notes effortlessly cascading into one another. (Watch a rare live performance of “Ten Thousand Angels” from the MDA Telethon below.)
McCready’s subsequent albums, however, failed to approach the success of her debut, and her fifth and final LP, I’m Still Here, was released in 2010. The defiantly titled album came after a 2009 appearance on the VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, where her struggles with depression and substance abuse became more widely known to those outside of the country music world.
The singer had a history of suicide attempts, and in 2008 was admitted to a Nashville hospital after cutting her wrists. Which, sadly, dulled the shock of her death on February 17th, 2013. The details surrounding the suicide, however, bordered on the sensational. McCready’s body was discovered on the porch of her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas, with a gunshot wound to her head — a dog that she apparently had killed before turning the gun on herself was nearby. A month earlier, McCready’s boyfriend David Wilson, the father of one of her two children, was found dead on the same porch of an apparent suicide.
McCready was buried in her native Florida. A memorial service celebrating her life and music was held in Nashville the following month, with Lorrie Morgan and Bryan White among those attending.