Country star Mindy McCready, who topped country music charts before troubled personal life outshined her career, apparently took her own life Sunday afternoon.

According to a statement released by Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, at 3:58 p.m. Sunday, the body of 37-year-old Melinda Gayle “Mindy” McCready was found on the front porch of the residence at 1132 Fox Chase. She was pronounced dead at the scene from what appeared to be a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.  McCready also shot and killed her dog.

McCready had been struggling since boyfriend and father of her son, record producer David Wilson, was found dead in his home just weeks ago of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Her body was found on the same porch where Wilson died.

McCready left behind two sons, 6-year-old Zander and 10-month-old Zayne. The boys are currently in foster families, representative said.

The Rise and Fall

It was in year 1996 that Mindy McCready surged onto the country music scene with the double-platinum debut album “Ten Thousand Angels” which sold more than 2 million copies.

Overall, she put six of her albums and 14 of her songs on the Billboard country charts including the “Maybe He’ll Notice Her Now”, “A Girl’s Gotta Do (What a Girl’s Gotta Do)” and No.1 hit “Guys Do It All the Time”, a self-assured dig at male chauvinism, earning her a legion of female fans.

But despite the success, she’s mostly remembered for a series of dramatic moments as she spent the next 16 years trying to recapture her once huge success. McCready seemed to be on a downward spiral as she was involved in drugs, alcohol and unstable romantic relationships.

McCready’s legal predicaments started in 2004 when she was on probation for three years after she pleaded guilty of fraudulently obtaining the painkiller, OxyContin, at a pharmacy. She had been arrested in Nashville for drunken driving and was allegedly beaten by ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, who was charged with attempted murder.
In 2005, McCready was arrested on drug charges and attempted suicide.

Authorities also said that she attempted suicide again in 2008 and overdosed again on drugs in 2010. She visited rehab several times and appeared on the third season of VH1’s reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”

McCready spent the last few years battling over custody of her son before the death of her boyfriend just a few weeks ago.

Fans and Artists React to Her Death

Though the singer had several legal and personal issues in recent years, her passing has left many stars and fans struggling with their emotions.

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

“My heart goes out to Mindy McCready’s family. I knew her well. It’s a horribly [sic] tragedy. May peace be with her son’s,” said LeAnn Rimes.

“American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood said “I grew up listening to Mindy McCready… so sad for her family tonight. Many prayers are going out to them…”

Fans also offered prayers and sympathies to her family. One follower wrote “I hope our society shows compassion and realizes the severity and reality of mental illness, and addiction.”

Other celebrities from and outside of the country music scene have also tweeted their condolences.

The Brave Face

In her own words, “I was never in a state in which I was conscious..Oh I want to die,” McCready said in an interview back in 2010.

“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.”

She had always shown strength in the midst of all personal battles following a string of issues she’d dealt with over the last 10 years. But the tough face for the media hid a much more complicated inner struggle.

“It is with the deepest sadness we say goodbye to an extraordinary and gifted talent, a daughter, a mother and friend, Miss Mindy McCready,” said Kat Atwood in a statement.

The sheriff’s office said McCready’s body would be taken to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy, adding that “the matter will be fully investigated.”