Canadian-born Instagram and YouTube star Lee MacMillan has tragically passed away. The 28-year-old influencer, who was known for documenting her global travels in a van, has taken her own life after a battle with depression. She was hit by an Amtrak train near Santa Barbara, California on March 26, according to local news source KEYT. Police said she had been living in the Santa Barbara area for about six months, and was reported missing prior to the tragic accident having left her home without her car, wallet, keys, ID or phone. Here’s 5 things to know about her.
1. Lee battled depression.
Lee’s former partner Max Bidstrup with whom she travelled the world prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, shared a heartrending post to their joint Instagram account. “After living an extraordinary life, and fighting a brave battle with depression, our hearts are shattered to share that Lee took her life on Friday. She was the brightest light, a magnetic force of nature and was loved by so so many,” the caption began. “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.”
He added, “Life is more complex than a single social media post. Things are complicated. Don’t believe what you see online. Get out into the world and talk to your loved ones. Check in. Ask them genuinely how they’re doing. Be available to help. To listen. To offer help. Remove the stigma of asking for help. Let’s spread the awareness of this issue, for Lee and every one else who needs to hear this: #speakupforlee.”
2. Her family said she was the victim of bullying.
Despite amassing more than 70,000 followers online, Lee’s father Wil told Daily Mail Australia that she had been the victim of online bullying. “Unfortunately, Lee was subjected to significant trolling and it impacted her deeply… our collective help simply wasn’t enough to overcome the negativity that Trolls inflict,” he told the outlet, noting that he hopes her tragic passing would bring light to the effects of cyber bullying. “We need and must raise awareness that mental health is as real as any other serious illness. In addition, and as important, we want to highlight the best way to fight against cyber bullying and bullying in general.”
Her dad continued, “Online bullying is out of control worldwide and must be stopped. Those that engage in trolling must understand that there are real life consequences to their actions and we need to figure out a way to hold them and the platforms that allow it to be held accountable.”
3. She split from Max in January 2020.
Lee and her Australian boyed Max rose to fame after documenting their travels on Instagram and YouTube. The former couple travelled in their van through Canada and South America with their dog, Occy, however they announced their breakup in January 2020.
4. Lee’s last post was in February 2021.
She took to Instagram on February 26 to share a snap of herself working from home in her backyard. “Happy Friday. I’m feeling grateful for the ability to work outside thanks to the California sunshine,” she captioned the sweet snap.
5. She was fixing up a new van in early 2021.
Most of Lee’s final Instagram posts showed her renovating a new van with friends in California. It came one year after she concluded her “van life” travels with ex-partner Max.