News of McCready's death spread quickly Sunday night on Twitter, with major country stars paying their respects to the onetime Nashville darling.
"Too much tragedy to overcome. R.I.P Mindy McCready," wrote Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks.
And Jason Aldean added: "Just heard about Mindy McCready. My thoughts and prayers are with her 2 boys and her family."
Melinda Gayle McCready arrived in Nashville in 1994 still in her teens with tapes of her karaoke vocals and earned a recording contract with BNA Records.
In 1996, her "Guys Do It All the Time" hit No. 1 and its dig at male chauvinism endeared her to females. Her other hits included "Ten Thousand Angels," also in 1996, and her album by that title sold 2 million copies.
She spent the next 15 years chasing another hit as personal problems began plaguing her. Her problems included a custody battle with her mother over one of her sons, an overdose and discord in her love life.
McCready took her older son, Zander, from her mother and the boy's legal guardian, Gayle Inge, in late 2011. She fled to Arkansas without permission over what she called child abuse fears. Authorities eventually found McCready hiding in a residence without permission and took the boy into custody.
She and Wilson had a son, Zayne, in April 2012. The older son's father is McCready's former boyfriend Billy McKnight.
In May 2010, she was hospitalized briefly after police responded to an overdose call at a home in North Fort Myers, Fla., owned by her mother. This followed a stint on "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," where she declared herself to be clean from drugs. She is the fifth celebrity appearing on that show to have died.
But her troubles began earlier. In 2004, she was charged with obtaining the painkiller OxyContin fraudulently at a pharmacy. She pleaded guilty and was placed on three years' probation.