Instagram influencer Lee MacMillan has died at age 28. The Canadian social media star reportedly took her own life after months of cyberbullying and a bout of depression.
MacMillan was reported missing on Saturday. She had reportedly left her Santa Barbara, California, home but left her car, wallet, keys, ID, and cell phone, according to KEYT-TV. Police feared she was suicidal and launched a search. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office later identified her as the woman who was hit and killed by a train last week near Santa Barbara.
The news was announced on Tuesday to over 61,000 of MacMillan's followers on her Instagram page, which documented her travels.
"She was the brightest light, a magnetic force of nature and was loved by so so many," the post read. "If we can do one thing for Lee now, in the midst of this soul-crushing loss, it’s to spread the message that mental health is just as real as physical health, and that illness can strike anyone, no matter how unlikely they may seem. It’s ok to not be ok, it’s ok to ask for help, it’s absolutely necessary to ask for help."
MacMillan had reportedly been struggling with depression, but was receiving help from professionals as well as from her friends and family.
"She had support around her. She was not alone, she was not trying to fight this alone," the post continued. "And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand."
A GoFundMe page set up in honor of MacMillan to raise funds to donate towards mental health awareness explained that the social media influencer had been subjected to cyberbullying in the months leading up to her death.
"Lee's struggles with her mental health were also compounded in her last months of life by persistent and often vicious cyberbullying, and we want to drive home the point that cyberbullying has real life consequences -- the people on the other side of the screen have real lives, real feelings, and real struggles of their own," the page read, adding how important it was for people to check in with their loved ones and be available to help them if needed.
MacMillan has been open about her struggles with depression and admitted to having suicidal thoughts in a video posted to her Instagram account in December. She received an outpouring of support from followers who came forth with their own stories. They have also helped the GoFundMe campaign set up in her memory to raise over $70,000 as of Friday morning.
"Thank you for contributing to her mission - her story will live on in all those she touched, let's honor her life by helping those who are not able to help themselves. Love and light from her family and friends." the page concluded.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
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