Mindy McCready "Left Rehab Too Soon"

By McCarton Ackerman 02/19/13

The late singer's ex says she was at high risk and her suicide could have been prevented.

McCready died on Monday, at age 37.
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The ex-boyfriend of country singer Mindy McCready, who committed suicide last Sunday at her Arkansas home, says her death might have been prevented if she had remained in rehab. McCready was found dead on Monday, just days after leaving rehab, where she was involuntarily admitted a week before. Although the singer had threatened suicide earlier this month after her fiancé David Wilson took his own life and she lost custody of her two sons, she was allowed to leave the program after less than a day, says her ex Billy McKnight. "That was a big mistake on the part of whoever released her," says McKnight, who is father to their eldest child Zander. "She was in a terrible state of mind. She doesn't perform anymore. She wasn't working. She has two kids and her fiancé was just killed," he says. "There's no way she should be out by herself in a lonely house with nothing but booze and pills. That was a really, really bad mistake, and the end result is tragic."

McCready, whose 1996 debut album Ten Thousand Angels sold over two million copies, was a former cast member on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. DrewDr. Drew Pinsky said in a statement that he was "deeply saddened" by her death, and that he had urged her to get help. "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," he said. "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 is the fifth Celebrity Rehab alumni to pass away from causes related to substance abuse, following former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, Real World cast member Joey Kovar, Rodney King, and TV star Jeff Conaway.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.