'Soul-crushing loss': Tragic death of Instagram star

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A young Canadian woman who documented her travels around the world with Australian Max Bidstrup has taken her own life.

Lee Macmillan’s loved ones announced the "soul-crushing loss" on her Instagram page, @maxandlee_ yesterday.

The couple met in 2016 and had been sharing their adventures on social media with their almost 70,000 followers ever since.

Instagram influencer Lee Macmillan took her own life.
Canadian born Lee Macmillan (pictured) had been struggling with her mental health. Source: Instagram/maxandlee_

Lee, 27 and Max, 32, travelled from the tip of Canada to the base of South America with their dog, Occy, in an old 2006 Dodge sprinter they revamped into a camper van and posted updates under the hashtag #vanlife.

In January the pair announced they had broken up, describing the announcement as "incredibly difficult to talk about" online.

"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," they said.

"We both want what is best for each other and will continue to support each other now and in to the future."

Lee MacMillan's friends and family 'shattered'

On Wednesday, the Instagram account they once shared now serves as a tribute to Ms Macmillan who was an advocate for mental health.

"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," a post accompanying a smiling photo of the Canadian woman read.

The post shared that before her death Ms Macmillan was actively seeking help for her mental health.

"She was receiving help: from professionals, from family, from friends. 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," the post reads.

Lee Macmillan with her ex-boyfriend, Max Bidstrup
Ms Macmillan had been travelling around the world with her Australian boyfriend, Max Bidstrup, in a van when the pair broke up in January 2021. Source: Instagram/maxandlee_

The post explained that despite the small glimpse into their lives showing a mostly happy and content Ms Macmillan on social media, she had been struggling for some time.

"Life is more complex than a single social media post. Things are complicated. Don’t believe what you see online," the post read.

"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."

The account urged those who need help to ask, no matter how hard it may seem.

"Let’s spread the awareness of this issue, for Lee and everyone else who needs to hear this: #speakupforlee."

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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