On Sunday, country music singer Mindy McCready’s body was discovered at her Arkansas home following an apparent suicide. Her death not only came as a shock to fans, it is now casting a spotlight on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab.”
As The Daily Beast pointed out on their report “Does 'Rehab' Help or Hurt?” McCready is the fifth person who appeared on the reality series to die in the past two years.
Other cast members that fell victim to a similar unnatural fate include:
- Mike Starr (44): The Alice in Chains bassist, who appeared on Season 3 of “Rehab,” died February 2011 of a prescription overdose.
- Jeff Conaway (60): May 2011, the “Taxi” actor died of pneumonia related to his prescription medication use. Conaway was featured on the first and second seasons of the show.
- Rodney King (47): A cast member from Season 2, the LAPD brutality victim drowned in his pool in June 2012 after consuming an alcohol/marijuana cocktail. King had been able to stay sober for a year.
- Joey Kovar (29): The reality TV personality who also appeared on “Real World” was found dead in a friend’s home on August 17 after an apparent overdose. The official cause of death is currently unknown.
The death trend associated with “Rehab” has raised eyebrows among critics skeptical of the show’s model: putting rehabilitation on camera and paying cast members to participate.
Concern is even more pronounced now as the show preps for its Season 6 premiere this Sunday, which—for the first time—won’t feature celebrities.
Dr. Drew, the show’s host that Gawker has renamed “Dr. Death,” issued the following statement via VH1's blog on McCready’s death:
“I am deeply saddened by this awful news. My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children. She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many. Although I have not treated her for a few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
Hollyscoop has reached out to Dr. Drew for a response to the criticism. We are currently waiting on a response.