Who was Lee Macmillan? Travel influencer, 27, known for her 'van life' dies by suicide after depression battle

Macmillan along with her ex-boyfriend Max Bidstrup used to travel across the world with their dog Occy and share their experiences on social media

                            Who was Lee Macmillan? Travel influencer, 27, known for her 'van life' dies by suicide after depression battle
Lee Macmillan was battling depression (Instagram/ maxandlee_)

Lee Macmillan, who became popular for documenting travel stories with her ex boyfriend on Instagram and YouTube, has died. The influencer, 27, took her life on Friday, March 26. Macmillan along with her ex-boyfriend Max Bidstrup used to travel with their dog Occy across the world in a renovated van and share their 'van life' experiences on social media.

The Instagram handle that was run by the duo confirmed Macmillan’s death. “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. 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,” handle "maxandlee_" posted.


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The post 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 everyone else who needs to hear this: #speakupforlee.”

Macmillan's current boyfriend Jordan Chiu wrote a heartbreaking tribute, saying that she had been receiving help from professionals, family and friends for her depression. "She had support around her. She was not alone, she was not trying to fight this alone. And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand," he said, Daily Mail reported. Chiu also started the '#speakupforlee' hashtag, to raise awareness about mental illness and the importance of checking in on your friends. 


Macmillan met Bidstrup in 2016 and they decided to travel across the world with each other and their Australian Shepherd Occy in a van they renovated. They spent two years travelling across 16 countries before announcing their break-up. The ex-couple’s Instagram account is followed by around 70k people. In January, the pair announced that they were going their “separate ways from here.” “We are so proud of what we have achieved as both a couple and as individuals over the past few years and we have been honored to be able to share the journey with all of you. Sadly though, despite going through so much together, and trying so damn hard, some things don’t always work out, no matter how much you want them to. We are very sorry to announce that the next chapter of our lives will not be one experienced together, as we will be going our separate ways from here,” their breakup announcement post mentioned.


Bidstrup also paid tribute to his former partner in a post that read, “You were the best thing to ever happen to me. You were the best person I have ever met. I fell in love with you the day we met yet you were still the stronger one that said “I love you” first. I never stopped loving you Mountie, I hope you know that. I will always cherish my time with you in this world and hope beyond hope to see you in the next ✨ Save some mini eggs for me.” 


Several people in the comment section of the post also expressed their sorrow over the tragic death of Macmillan. One person wrote, “I’m so sorry mate. Even though we’ve never met I always felt a bond with you and Lee. You both have inspired me to travel more and I’m devastated by the news. Lee was an amazing person and she won’t be forgotten. Sending Lots of love brother.” Another user said, “I instantly thought of you and Occy when I found out, my heart and prayers are with you and everyone who loved Lee. Rest easy Lee.” “Absolutely devastated to hear of this news. This is such a massive loss. I am so sorry that this has happened. Prayers for healing and clarity during this confusing time,” a person added.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

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