By Stephanie Goldberg
(CNN) — Mindy McCready is the fifth former cast member of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” to die in the past two years.
The 37-year-old country star, who appeared on Season 3 of the VH1 show, where she suffered an on-camera seizure, was found dead on the front porch of her Arkansas home on Sunday. Authorities said she was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and former “Real World” cast member Joey Kovar also appeared on the show’s third season. Starr died in March 2011 at 44, while Kovar, 29, died in August 2012.
“Grease” actor Jeff Conway, 60, who appeared on the show’s first season, died of pneumonia in May 2011. However, the doctor who treated him for drug addiction for years told CNN it was his dependence on prescription painkillers that eventually cost him his life.
Authorities said that Season 2 cast member Rodney King’s death in June 2012 was the result of accidental drowning, but the alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and PCP found in the 47-year-old’s system were contributing factors.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, who hosts his own program on HLN, CNN’s sister network, spoke to CNN’s Don Lemon on Sunday night about the many “Celebrity Rehab” deaths and losing McCready.
“One of my hopes was, in bringing ‘Celebrity Rehab’ out, was to teach people how dangerous addiction was,” Pinsky told Lemon. “If I was doing a show on cancer, there would not be much surprise when my cancer patient died. In fact, we’d celebrate a few years of good quality life. People don’t understand that addiction has virtually the same prognosis. If you have other mental health issues on top of that, it’s so much worse. This was not an addiction death, interestingly. This was related to – had her boyfriend not died, I don’t think there’s any way we’d be in this position right now.”
A month ago, David Wilson, the father of McCready’s two sons, apparently took his own life. He too was found dead on the porch.
“There’s a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness and the way in which the public attack celebrities who take care of themselves,” Pinsky said. McCready “became so fearful of the stigma and the way people were responding to her being hospitalized that she actually checked herself out prematurely. … She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”
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