'Significantly trolled': Heartbroken dad's message after Instagram star's death

Brianne Tolj
·3-min read

An Instagram star’s family have revealed the 27-year-old Canadian was bullied heavily online before taking her own life.

Lee Macmillan racked up more than 70,000 followers on the platform while travelling around Australia and the world with her former boyfriend, Max Bidstrup, from Victoria.

The couple trekked across 16 countries in their renovated van before splitting up in late 2019 and announcing their separation on Instagram in January last year.

Despite living what some would think was an idyllic life, Ms Macmillan was open online about her struggles with anxiety and depression.

Lee Macmillian pictured with boyfriend Jordan Chiu.
The 27-year-old’s current partner, Jordan Chiu, posted a tribute to Lee Macmillian after her passing. Source: Instagram

“I have been struggling with my own insecurities and uncertainties and it has been causing me feelings of anxiety and depression,” she posted while in Chile in October 2019.

“I feel like I’m lying to you all when I share a moment of me when I’m happy since there are many other moments when I am anxious or depressed.”

Her dad, Wil, told Daily Mail Australia this week that with her large social media following came trolls.

“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 said, before calling for more awareness about the real life consequences of cyberbullying.

“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 cyberbullying and bullying in general."

Mr Macmillan said trolls needed to be held accountable for their actions.

Lee Macmillan surfing with a dog.
Despite living what some would think was an idyllic life, Ms Macmillan was open online about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Source: Instagram

Boyfriend pays tribute to Instagram star

The 27-year-old’s current partner, Jordan Chiu, posted a tribute to Ms Macmillian after her passing, calling her “a dream beyond [his] wildest dream”.

“She was the brightest light, a magnetic force of nature and was loved by so, so many,” he said.

“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,” Mr Chiu added, encouraging people to use the hashtag #speakupforlee. He has also created a GoFundMe under the same name. 

Max Bidstrup with his arms around Lee Macmillian as they pose in front of some mountains.
Ms Macmillian’s former boyfriend also paid tribute to his travel partner. Source: Instagram

He said Ms Macmillian was an advocate for mental health, and was “candid and open about her own struggles”.

At the time of her death she was receiving help from professionals, family and friends and wasn’t “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, calling her his “person, partner and best friend”.

Ms Macmillian’s former partner also paid tribute to his travel partner.

“You were the best thing to ever happen to me,” Mr Bidstrup said.

“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."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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