Army Soldier Dies Just Days After Her 12-Year-Old Daughter’s Birthday

In a somber turn of events, friends revealed on Saturday the heartbreaking news of the passing of Staff Sgt. Michelle Young, a dedicated member of the US Army and a prominent fitness and fashion influencer on Instagram. At the age of 34, Young took her own life, leaving behind her 12-year-old daughter, Gracie, who friends have described as the focal point of her world.

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

In an emotional post on GoFundMe, close friend Sarah Maine paid tribute to Young, portraying her as a “beautiful soul, an amazing friend, a single mother, a soldier,” underscoring the often concealed struggles individuals face. Maine’s heartfelt message resonated with many grappling with the invisible battles that Young confronted.

With 16 years of service in the Army, Young enlisted at the age of 18, completing two tours in Afghanistan, as reported by the Daily Mail. Her military journey reflected a profound commitment to duty and exemplified the sacrifices made by those in uniform.

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Days before the tragic news unfolded, Young shared a poignant birthday message for her daughter, Gracie, on Instagram, expressing the joy of being Gracie’s mother and emphasizing the profound impact her daughter had on her life.

Friends reminisced about the deep bond between Young and Gracie, evident in numerous social media photos capturing a nurturing mother-daughter relationship. Even during Halloween, the duo delighted followers by dressing up as Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, showcasing their close-knit connection.

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Beyond her military service, Young wielded influence over a significant Instagram following of over 100,000, where she showcased athletic wear for a female veterans-focused company. Through her platform, she fervently advocated for improved mental health treatment for veterans and actively fought against homelessness among former soldiers. Her commitment extended to volunteering as a crisis trauma response volunteer at a local shelter.

In a poignant post during Suicide Prevention Week in September, Young reflected on the tragic suicide of her older brother when she was just 14, urging those in distress to seek help. The circumstances leading to Young’s own suicide remain unclear, prompting questions about the challenges she faced.

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

Photo Credit: michelleyoung17/Instagram

As tributes pour in, Maine acknowledged the dissonance between Young’s outwardly successful life and the hidden struggles she confronted. The prevalence of mental illness, particularly within the military, serves as a stark reminder of the need for enhanced support systems.

In the aftermath of Young’s passing, a GoFundMe campaign has garnered nearly $25,000 in support. The funds will be directed to Gracie, symbolizing a united effort to stand by Young’s daughter during this challenging time. The tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against mental health issues, urging a reevaluation of support structures for those who serve our nation.

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