A U.S. Army officer and fitness influencer has taken her own life by suicide.
This is coming just days after she celebrated her daughter’s 12th birthday.
On January 20, friends of Staff Sergeant Michelle Young, 34, shared the sad news that she had taken her life.
Days earlier, Young shared a post celebrating her daughter Gracie’s birthday with her followers.
‘Happy birthday to the sweetest girl I’ve ever known,’ Young wrote. ‘She’s a force to be reckoned with, she’s witty, ambitious, kind, compassionate, intelligent, hardworking, hilarious, and selfless.
‘I cried the entire time I made this. I love you forever, kiddo. The best part about my life is being your momma.’
Her death has led to an outpouring of tributes from friends online and on her social media pages.
‘Michelle was always so kind to me. We talked often about our daughters and how similar they are,’ friend Brianna Hasan wrote. ‘I know she loved Gracie more than anything. I cannot believe this happened.’
The Prescott, Arizona, resident enlisted in the Army at 17 years old. She returned from her first deployment seven years later, soon after her daughter’s second birthday.
‘I was in the military before I became a mother,’ Young wrote on Instagram. ‘I volunteered for this life, she didn’t. She’s had to be away from her only parent during multiple deployments, TDYs, and training, yet she never complains.’
The 34-year-old served two tours in Afghanistan, most recently in 2021. That same year, she extended her military contract to serve 20 years. As of September, she had served 16.
In her free time, Young worked as a crisis and trauma response volunteer while also volunteering at a local women’s and children’s homeless shelter. In one post, she explained that her passion for service was sparked by her own brother’s suicide.
Sarah Maine, the COO of veteran-owned activewear brand Curves N Combatboots, broke the news of Young’s death through a GoFundMe campaign.
‘Our good friend and athlete Michelle was taken from us by suicide,’ she wrote.
‘Michelle was a beautiful soul, an amazing friend, a single mother, a soldier, and is proof you never know what someone is going through or what demons they may be fighting.’
Young’s daughter, Maine explained, ‘was her whole world,’ and the campaign was organized to help Gracie ‘with anything she may need. We know Michelle would appreciate us all looking out for her now.’
It’s unclear how Young took her life.