As the showbiz world mourns the loss of another entertainer after the suicide of troubled singer Mindy McCready, it’s even more troubling when you consider she’s now the fifth former cast member of the VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” to have died in the last two years.
McCready was found dead Sunday on the porch of her Arkansas home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her dog was found dead beside her, also shot. She was 37 and leaves behind two sons, Zander, 6, and Zayne, 10 months.
The sad news comes just a month after McCready’s boyfriend producer David Wilson, the father of her infant son, committed suicide, on the same porch, in the same manner.
Following that tragedy, McCready, who was already embroiled in a custody battle over her older son, had been ordered by the courts to be institutionalized and her children were placed in foster care, leaving many to question if she might have been released too early.
“As sad as it is, it didn’t come as a major shock,” Billy McKnight, McCready’s ex-boyfriend and father of her older son, said Monday on the “Today” show. “She’s just been battling demons for so long.”
“I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her,” he added.
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Dr. Drew Pinsky, who had tried to help McCready on the rehab reality show, said in a statement that he is “deeply saddened by this awful news.”
“My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children,” Dr. Drew says. Pinsky said he reached out to McCready last month after her boyfriend’s suicide, even though he had not treated her for a few years.
“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, according to CNN. “She was devastated.” “Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule, she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority,” he continued. “Unfortunately, it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
McCready is the latest tragic alum from the VH1 reality show who has died either due to their drug addictions or illnesses stemming from their addictions.
The other “Rehab” participants that have passed away in just the last two years include “Taxi” star Jeff Conaway, 60; police brutality victim Rodney King, 47; Alice in Chains’ bass player Mike Starr, 44; and reality TV star Joey Kovar, 29. McCready, Starr and Kovar all appeared on the show’s third season.
A story in The Daily Beast last fall questioned whether the show helped or hurt its participants, asking: “Is rehabilitation just impossible to attain for some addicts, or does the endeavor become hopeless when cameras are introduced and addicts are paid to participate?”
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