Country singer Mindy McCready's ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight, the father of one of her two sons, Monday said he was saddened but not surprised by her apparent suicide Sunday.

"As sad as it is, it didn't come as a major shock because she's just been battling demons for so long," McKnight told NBC's "Today." "Of course, I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her. I feel for her mother and her family and especially my son, but I can't say that it shocked me, no."

Their son Zander, 6, and her 9-month-old son Zayne with the late record producer David Wilson, have been in foster care since McCready was admitted to an inpatient facility on Feb. 6.

Wilson, her fiance, died of a gunshot wound last month in a case still being investigated by police in Heber Springs, Ark., where McCready also died.

McCready made headlines in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with baseball great Roger Clemens, which the pitcher denied.

Clemens Monday handed a written statement to reporters at the Houston Astros spring training facility in Kissimmee, Fla., where he is serving as a special instructor. "Yes, that is sad news. I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life."

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McCready, who appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" in 2010, is the fifth person from that series to die.

Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and "Taxi" actor Jeff Conaway died in 2011, while "The Real World: Hollywood's" Joey Kovar and famed Los Angeles police victim Rodney King died in 2012.

-- With AP