FORT MYERS, Fla. - Family, friends and fans of Fort Myers native Mind McCready said their final goodbyes to the country music star Tuesday, a little over a week after she took her own life. She was 37.
"Our family is devastated by the loss of our beautiful and talented daughter," McCready's mother, Gayle Inge said in a statement before Tuesday's funeral. "Her life no matter how brief touched many and she will forever be our special angel."
Between 200-300 people attended the funeral at the Cross Roads Church in Fort Myers to mourn the loss of McCready and celebrate a life cut short.
McCready's music filled the church. A picture of her looking off into the distance sat next to her wooden coffin draped in white roses.
Her coffin arrived in a white hearse.
McCready's mother, Gayle Inge, spoke out for the first time since her daughter's suicide. She said her daughter is finally at peace after her much publicized struggles with alcohol, drugs and the law.
"Yes, she did battle things in her flesh," said Inge. "But her spirit found healing on the other side."
Inge says she spoke with McCready before her death and it sounded like she was in her "darkest moment" the day she took her life. She says McCready found comfort in religion.
McCready shot herself on Feb. 17, weeks after her boyfriend's death.
"Through so much agony and so much pain," said Inge, "she went to heaven."
McCready leaves behind her two young sons aged six and 10 months. Her mom plans to give them bracelets with angels and hearts to remember their mother.
"This is so their mommy can watch over both of them," said Inge. "Because they will forever be in her heart."
Family members fondly reminisced about McCready as a little girl who sang into a hairbrush and held concerts in her backyard.
"Mindy was such a blessing to me," her cousin said. "As a child I idolized her. I thought she was everything."
"She inspired me," her brother Skylar said, "when she told me I was talented."
McCready's brothers talked about how much they enjoyed spending time with her and joked that she got them into more trouble than she got them out.
McCready leaves behind two boys and a treasure of talent and memories that still touch so many lives.
"I'm her biggest fan," her mother said. "She is singing onto Him a new song today."
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be sent to:
Mindy McCready Children's Trust
c/o John Ammons
Edison National Bank
13000 S. Cleveland Ave.
Fort Myers, FL