Published February 20, 2013
Mindy McCready’s sudden death of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound left the country world in mourning on Sunday. But it is not the first time a country music star has been plagued by tragedy. Throughout the years, many stars like McCready have found themselves in crisis.
Johnny Cash burst on to the country music scene in the 50s, winning over fans with his deep, baritone voice. But as his career began to blossom he became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. He gave up drugs in the late 60s after he attempted suicide while in a drug-induced state but he became addicted again in the late 70s and went to rehab several times during the following years. Eventually in 1992 he seemed to sober up for good but he died in 2003 of diabetes.
Though Randy Travis has had more than 50 singles soar on the Billboard Hot Country Song charts, the “Three Wooden Crosses” crooner has become better known in recent years for his repeated run ins with the law, stemming from his addiction to alcohol. In Aug. 2012, Travis was charged with a DUI when he was found lying in the street…naked. In Nov. 2012, Travis announced he was done with booze for good.
In the late 1940s, Hank Williams was one of country music’s brightest stars. But as he gained recognition, his personal issues began to weigh him down. He often performed live shows while drunk and he eventually became addicted to morphine and was booted from the Gran Ole Opry. In 1952, after several heath scares, Williams was cleared by a doctor to travel and got in the car with his driver to head to West Virginia. Williams died during the drive, going quietly at the young age of 29.
Patsy Cline hit the music scene in 1947 and quickly became of one country music’s biggest names. But the singer was no stranger to misfortune and was in two brutal car accidents in during her life time, both of which she survived. In 1963, the Cline was not as lucky when tragedy struck for the third time. At the age of 30, Cline was killed in a private plane crash on her way home from a concert.
Trace Atkins was battling demons before he even entered the spotlight. The singer became famous in 1995, but has said he was an alcoholic long before that. In 1994, he got into a heated fight with his now ex-wife about his drinking and she shot him in the chest. He survived and decided not to press charges. The singer entered rehab in 2001 after being charged with a DUI and he has been sober for several years.
Former child star LeAnn Rimes grew up in the spotlight, winning her first Grammy at the ripe age of 14. But her love life got complicated as she got older, and the singer became a tabloid target. After Rimes cheated on her husband and hooked up with a then-married Eddie Cibrian, she became the center of a very public battle with Cibrian’s ex, Brandi Glanville. Photos of super skinny Rimes surfaced, shocking fans, and in Aug. 2012 she checked into rehab for anxiety and stress.