Service for Mindy McCready to be held in Nashville - WSMV Channel 4

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Service for Mindy McCready to be held in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

Mindy McCready's family will hold a private funeral service for the country singer on Feb. 26 in Ft. Myers, FL.

Authorities in Arkansas said Wednesday that a preliminary autopsy results confirms  McCready's death was a suicide.

A memorial in Nashville, being organized by her friends and the music community, is tentatively scheduled for March 6 at the Cathedral of The Incarnation on West End Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations be made to "Mindy McCready Children's Trust", c/o John Ammons, Edison National Bank, 13000 S. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, FL.

The Cleburne County, Ark., sheriff said in a statement Wednesday that preliminary autopsy results from the state's crime lab show McCready's death was a suicide from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators have said McCready apparently shot and killed her late boyfriend's dog before she turned the gun on herself Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, Ark. Authorities found McCready's body and the dog on the front porch where her longtime boyfriend, musician David Wilson, died last month of a gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities are investigating Wilson's death as a suicide but they haven't determined an official cause of death yet.

Nashville Artists Mourn

The news of country singer Mindy McCready's death caught Music City by surprise, but a single song - perhaps McCready's final recorded track - may have given a clue something wasn't right.

In a city full of names and faces known for success, some may only know McCready, 37, for her struggles.

But for songwriter Courtney Dashe, struggle will not define the story of McCready's life.

Dashe, a Nashville songwriter and McCready's co-writer, penned a song now credited as the country star's finale: a ballad titled I'll See You Yesterday.

McCready heard Dashe perform the song several years ago and instantly connected.

"She came right up to me and she was crying, and she said, 'That song you're playing, that I'll See You Yesterday song, that's my life. I have to do that song,'" Dashe said. "We intended it to be a positive song, like, 'take the best parts of your past and focus on those.' But to hear Mindy sing the song now, it's definitely eerie."

Online, fellow country stars took to Twitter to extend their sympathies for McCready - from John Rich, who said it was, "A tragic end to a talented life," to Chely Wright, who promised, "I will pray for her children and I hope that people are gentle with her memory."

But at least one songwriter would urge this industry and this city to remember the artist for the way she lived, not the way she died.

"I do hope that the song helped her. And I've been told it helped her cope with a lot of things in her life, but unfortunately the way that it ends," Dashe said. "It's just heartbreaking."

McCready had two sons - one 6 years old, and the other an infant. Both remain in foster care.

Friends and family plan to hold a memorial Monday evening in Nashville to commemorate McCready's life and career.

Mindy McCready dead at 37

Perhaps there was one heartbreak too many for Mindy McCready.

McCready had attempted suicide at least three times since 2005 as she struggled to cope amid a series of tumultuous public events that marked much of her adult life.

Speaking to The Associated Press in 2010, McCready smiled wryly while talking about the string of issues she'd dealt with over the last half-decade.

"It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time," she said of her life. "I call my life a beautiful mess and organized 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. I think that's really the life of a celebrity, of a big, huge, giant personality."

This time it seems the whirlwind overwhelmed McCready.

Her death comes a month after that of David Wilson, her longtime boyfriend and the father of her youngest son. He is believed to have shot himself on the same porch of the home they shared in Heber Springs, a small vacation community about 65 miles north of Little Rock. His death also was investigated as a suicide.

It was the most difficult moment in a life full of them. McCready issued a statement last month lamenting his death. And she called him her soul mate and a caregiver to her sons in an interview with NBC's "Today" show.

"I just keep telling myself that the more suffering that I go through, the greater character I'll have," she said, according to a transcript of the interview.

Like so many times before, McCready showed a little toughness in the midst of a personal storm, again endearing herself to her fans. But as usual, the brave face for the camera hid a much more complicated internal struggle that surfaced publicly time and again over the last 10 years.

This time, along with her remembrances of finding Wilson as he lay dying, she also answered questions about whether they'd argued earlier that evening about an affair and if she'd shot him.

"Oh, my God," the "Today" transcript reads. "No. Oh, my God. No. He was my life. We were each other`s life."

It's unclear what circumstances led to McCready taking her own life, but it appears she was struggling again with twin issues that have persisted for years -- substance abuse and the custody of her children. She checked into court-ordered rehab and gave her children up to foster care earlier this month after her father asked a judge to intervene, saying she'd stopped taking care of herself and her sons and was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.

It's unclear why McCready was out of rehab.

Billy McKnight, McCready's ex-boyfriend and the father of her oldest son, said the children remain in foster care. Arkansas Department of Human Services spokeswoman Amy Webb could not confirm their whereabouts, citing agency rules.

McCready's relationship with McKnight was one of the more difficult periods of her life. McKnight was arrested in 2005 on charges of attempted murder after authorities say he beat and choked her. And the two continued to struggle over their son with McKnight recently filing for custody in light of McCready's latest sting in rehab.

McCready made headlines in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with baseball great Roger Clemens. Published reports at the time said she met the pitcher at a Florida karaoke bar when she was 15 and he was 28 and married. Clemens has denied the relationship.

On Monday, Clemens handed a written statement to reporters at the Houston Astros spring training facility in Kissimmee, Fla., where he is serving as a special instructor for the team.

"Yes, that is sad news. I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice."

McCready also was engaged to actor Dean Cain in 1997, but their relationship fell apart as well.

Her troubles weren't just romantic. Over time she was arrested for fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, probation violation, misdemeanor assault of her mother Gayle Inge and other problems.

In 2010, after a stint on Dr. Drew Pinsky's "Celebrity Rehab 3" where she was treated for "love addiction," she told The Associated Press she may have finally found love and the strength to get her life back on track.

Pinsky, who had no comment Sunday, called McCready an "angel" in the season finale and expressed hope she would continue to seek treatment in a later interview. McCready suffered a seizure in one of the show's scarier moments. Tests showed she had suffered brain damage, something she attributed to her abuse at the hands of McKnight.

McCready is the fifth celebrity to pass away since appearing on Pinsky's show and the third from Season 3. Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and "Real World" participant Joey Kovar both died of overdoses.

She entered her relationship with Wilson, a producer and musician who was 34 when he died last month, a short time later. She'd just met Wilson and talked openly about their relationship in the 2010 interview. Wilson declined to speak on the record.

With a publicist, reporters, cameras, makeup artists and musicians swirling around her during a press day for her last album, "I'm Still Here," McCready fended off questions about a sex tape and said she and Wilson started out as friends.

"And I've never had a relationship like that before where we started completely as friends," she said. "It turned into friends really caring about each other and then it turned into love and I've never had that happen before."

Things didn't remain calm for long, though. Unhappy with custody arrangements, McCready took her older son from her mother, the boy's legal guardian, in late 2011. She fled to Arkansas without permission over what she called child abuse fears. Authorities eventually found McCready hiding in a home without permission and took the boy into custody.

She and Wilson had their son in April 2012, and she regained custody of Zander in December. But Wilson's death appears to have led to another dark period.

"I met Mindy at 23 coming off of a big record, and from knowing her as personal as I did back then, sometimes being famous can hurt you," McKnight said in a phone interview Monday from Tampa, Fla. "I think she was too young. I think that she was having some personal issues in her life and her family anyways, and when she got famous ... she started mixing booze and pills and the negativity, it took the best of her."

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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