Playboy Playmate Ashley Mattingly's sister is speaking out about the late model's struggle with alcoholism in the years leading up to her death in an interview with Fox News.
Mattingly was found dead at her Texas home this week at the age of 33, Fox News confirmed. A spokesperson for the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office said an official cause of death could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
Mattingly's sister, Christy Deweese, said the family learned she died of an apparent suicide but are still waiting on an official cause for confirmation.
When speaking to Fox News, Deweese recalled Mattingly's "strong-willed" spirit and her ability to accomplish "anything she put her mind to." An example of that came in 2011, when the former model lived out her goal of landing Playboy's Miss March after moving to California.
Now, Deweese wants to remind the public that addiction knows no boundaries and her late sister persevered to get her life "back in order" after returning to her home state of Texas in recent years.
"[Addiction] can happen to anyone and it takes a really strong person to overcome it. She was obviously a very strong person and it still got the best of her," the sister added.
Mattingly's sibling -- she also had a twin brother and another sister -- told Fox News that it's unclear whether the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced Americans into isolation in the last month, contributed to her struggle. But Mattingly was "a very social person" who the family is now learning was going through a particularly dark period before her death.
"She was always the life of the party, happy, outgoing, when she's in a good place," Deweese said of her late sister. "She definitely had a substance abuse issue but there are times she's been to rehab. She always wanted to get herself on the right track. She's very ambitious."
Overcoming alcohol is the "one thing she couldn't overcome," Deweese continued.
The former Playboy Playmate will be remembered for her "love of traveling" and ability to do "whatever she would put her mind to."
Mattingly enjoyed taking pilot lessons and was already skilled in flying helicopters, her sister said.
Mattingly moved home to Texas to be closer to family but was still about four to five hours away from her kin.
Deweese said Mattingly's zest for life and willingness to get better made her "strong," but there are some warning signs that are now coming to light.
"I know she didn't reach out to close family before this happened and my opinion is she thinks we would know and we would act on it," Deweese said.
"Sometimes the signs are there but you don't know it. A lot of times there's nothing you can do because there's so many scenarios that could happen," the sister explained.
Mattingly's family is planning a celebration of life that will be true to who she was as a person once the coronavirus pandemic recedes.
"We're working on planning it right now but where we live you cannot have more than 10 people together," Deweese explained. "It won't be traditional, that's for sure."
Deweese described the family's plans to be "more of a party where we can celebrate and enjoy her memories."
The global health crisis has made it difficult for the family to book a venue, but they yearn to hold some type of memorial near the water because she "loved the ocean and lake," as well as her former stomping grounds in Orange County.
Deweese stressed there's never been a better time to check on loved ones, knowingly suffering or not, and shared her sister's infectious spirit will be remembered.
"Anything she put her mind to, she conquered it all. This got the best of her," Deweese told Fox News. "It's hard because this isn't something we planned for. She was a good person and addiction can take down anything, so I ask for people to just be mindful."
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).