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Influencer Lee MacMillan Who Traveled The World By Van Dead By Suicide At 28, Boyfriend Pens Touching Tribute

Apr. 6 2021, Updated 12:37 p.m. ET

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Lee MacMillan, an influencer known for traveling the world in her van, committed suicide at 28.

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On Monday, March 29, the Santa Barbara Police Department confirmed in a press release that MacMillan died on Friday, March 26, in Santa Barbara, Calif., after she went missing earlier that day. 

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Source: Santa Barbara Police Department/ Facebook
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Prior to the confirmation that MacMillan was the unidentified woman in a "train fatality," the police shared a statement one day after she went missing, noting that she "suffers from depression and has been expressing suicidal ideation for the last month." According to the statement, "MacMillan left her wallet, keys, ID, and cell phone at her residence," as well as her vehicle.

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Source: Lee MacMillan, Jordan Chiu/ Instagram
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Source: Santa Barbara Police Department/ Facebook

A post to MacMillan's Instagram account on Monday also confirmed her death by suicide. After praising the young traveler for "living an extraordinary life and fighting a brave battle with depression," the statement read: "Lee took her life on Friday."

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Source: Life with Lee/ Instagram
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Alongside a photo of MacMillan smiling, the caption urged her 68.4 thousand followers 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," the statement continued, noting that MacMillan was a strong "advocate for mental health" and was working through her own mental health struggles at the time. 

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"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," the statement read. "And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand."

MacMillan and her ex-boyfriend Max Bidstrup built up a following together on their YouTube channel Max & Lee, which garnered 497,000 followers. The former flames — who announced their split last January — videoed themselves traveling the world and taking on new adventures with their dog Occy in their van. Following their split, Bidstrup moved back to his hometown in Australia with Occy.

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MacMillan launched her own channel, Life with Lee, in December, which amassed 49,800 followers. She shared with her viewers what she had been up to amid the pandemic, revealing she'd been working on her mental health, took up golf and cycling as well as began dating Jordan Chiu.

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She also said she was in the process of building another travel van after taking a break due to the pandemic. "This is the very first vehicle that I own on my own," MacMillan revealed in a video.

Following her suicide, Chiu paid a touching tribute to his traveler girlfriend via Instagram. Her boyfriend said she was a "dream beyond my wildest dreams" and "filled my heart up full to bursting and stretched it further than what I ever imagined was possible."

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Source: Jordan Chiu/ Instagram

"You were my person, my partner, my best friend," he continued

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Chiu praised MacMillan for giving their life constant adventure, writing, "Every day with you was an adventure and I hope wherever you are you’ve found peace and snuggles," before adding: "Rest easy puppy. I love you more than you will ever know."

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MacMillan's ex also shared a touching message upon news of her tragic passing.

"It was always you ❤️," Bidstrup wrote. "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 ❤️."

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He concluded his heartbreaking message by sharing that he will "always cherish" their time together and "hope beyond hope to see you in the next."

On Thursday, April 1, MacMillan's Instagram account shared that a GoFundMe page has been set up in her name to start a foundation "to promote mental health awareness and to combat cyberbullying," the statement read.

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