LITTLE ROCK — Singer Mindy McCready most feared public reaction to her seeking institutional help for personal struggles, a TV doctor friend who is familiar with the lives of trouble celebrities said Monday.

McCready, the 37-year-old former country music star whose once high-flying career was grounded by drug abuse and other personal trials, was found dead on the porch of her Heber Springs home Sunday afternoon, just a week after returning from court-ordered rehabilitation.

Cleburne County authorities said she died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, about a month after her boyfriend, producer-songwriter David Wilson, died suddenly at the residence. Authorities have not released the official cause of Wilson’s death.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, who hosts a program on the HLN cable network, Told CNN on Monday that he contacted McCready shortly after Wilson’s death.

"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," Pinsky 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," he said.

According to Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss, some residents in the neighborhood of mostly vacation homes heard gunshots just after 3:30 Sunday. Deputies found McCready’s body 30 minutes later. A dog that belonged to Wilson also had been shot dead, the sheriff said.

McCready’s body was taken to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for autopsy.

Earlier this month, the father of Mindy McCready’s 6-year-old son asked authorities to return the boy to his custody. In November 2011, McCready fled the state of Florida and came to Heber Springs with their son, violating a standing Florida court order.

The 6-year-old and her infant son with Wilson are in foster care and were not at the residence when McCready died, authorities said.