But Thursday on Good Morning America, the 20-year-old singer remembered her estranged father fondly and announced a mental health scholarship she's launching in his honor.
"I'm handling it okay," she said. "My father and I didn't have the most ideal relationship, but at the end of the day he's still my dad."
"It's difficult," Demi admitted. "I grew up with him and he's a wonderful person, but I'm handling it OK."
The exact cause of Demi's father's death has not yet been released, although the 53-year-old had reportedly been battling cancer in recent years and struggled with psychological issues similar to those for which Demi sought treatment in 2010.
In 2009, she explained to the Daily News she "had to cut off all connection" to her father because his behavior "was hurting me too much."
"You try to have faith in somebody, even when you're the last person that believes in him," she said. "But when somebody lets you down after you've been the only one there for them, and so many times, you don't know what else to do."
She elaborated on this on Good Morning America, saying, "My father dealt with mental illnesses and he wasn't able to function in society and that happens to a lot of people."
Unfortunately, not everyon has access to the mental health care they need. Demi realizes this, so in honor of her late father, she's doing what she can to help with the Lovato Treatment Scholarship. The program, launched in conjunction with CAST Recovery, will cover treatment expenses—one person's at a time—for those struggling with mental health or addiction issues.
Earlier this month at a Chicago performance, the X Factor judge paid an emotional tribute to "the place that saved my life."
"I had to go away to treatment and I want to let you know that this treatment center is called Timberline Knolls. It was here in Lemont, Illinois," she told the crowd. "I just want you guys to know that when I come to Chicago, I never forget that this place is the place that saved my life. If anybody out there is dealing with an eating disorder, substance abuse, cutting, bullying, whatever it is—I want you guys to know that I've been through it and that I've gotten through it and you can do it too."