The young Hollywood actor who invited his ailing 89-year-old neighbor to live her final days with him shared the tragic news of her death with his followers on Wednesday, in a heartfelt Facebook post. The story of Chris Salvatore, 31, and neighbor Norma Cook became an online sensation after he raised $50,000 through a GoFundMe page for her before eventually inviting her and her beloved cat, Hermes, to move in.
Cook had been diagnosed with leukemia and was told she could not be discharged from the hospital without 24/7 care. Salvatore quickly raised the funds so she could return to the building she called home for decades.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman,” Salvatore posted on his Facebook page Wednesday. “Norma is now resting peacefully in the eternal and while she may no longer physically be with us, her spirit will continue to fill the hearts of so many people.”
Salvatore previously told KTVU that he came to consider Norma as a grandmother figure, and that she often referred to him as “grandson.” He credited her with changing his life for the better and helping to teach him to be a kinder, gentler and more compassionate person.
“Perhaps Norma’s lasting legacy is that her story helped the world to see the true meaning of love,” Salvatore wrote in his post. “Norma reminded me that we all are created to love and all desire to be loved. This year Norma has helped the world see the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. To love another is not about living struggle free or never experiencing hurt or loss, but to fully and deeply open our hearts to one another without fear.”