An actor who welcomed his elderly neighbour to live with him as she battled leukaemia has announced she has passed away.
Chris Salvatore, 31, invited Norma Cook, 89, into his home last month after she decided to stop her treatment and doctors told her she couldn't live on her own any more without 24-hour care.
As her health got worse, Salvatore came to her rescue and moved her into his apartment across the hall to help her save money instead of shelling out for someone to help her - and to keep her spirits up.
Norma moved in with Chris after he kindly stepped up to care for her in her final days (Credit: Instagram/ Chris Salvatore)
He documented the pair's time together on his social media pages using the hashtag #MyNeighborNorma, capturing the hearts of hundreds of people and gaining a following.
In a post he shared on Instagram and Facebook, Salvatore announced the sad news that Norma had passed away yesterday morning after a 10-year battle with the cancer.
Norma sadly passed away after a 10-year battle with leukaemia (Credit: Instagram/ Chris Salvatore)
He wrote: "It's with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman.
"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. Perhaps Norma's lasting legacy is that her story helped the world to see the true meaning of love. Norma reminded me that we all are created to love and all desire to be loved."
Chris and Norma rang in the New Year together (Credit: Instagram/ Chris Salvatore)
He continued: "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. Each of us is lovable even with all of our differences. Love has no boundaries.
"May you rest in peace my sweet sweet lady, Norma. ❤️"
Chris spent time with Norma in hospital too (Credit: Instagram/ Chris Salvatore)
The actor met Norma four years ago when he moved in across the hall from her in Los Angeles. He told the Today show that the day he met her, "his life changed forever". She introduced herself by offering him a glass of champagne - her favourite drink.
He said: "We just sat down and talked. We connected right away."
The pair enjoyed drinking champagne together (Credit: Instagram/ Chris Salvatore)
The gay rights activist went on: "Back when she was a young adult, she had a lot of friends who were gay, and I'm also gay, so I think it made her feel safe at home and at peace to sort of have that bond again."
Norma referred to Chris as "the grandson I never had".
This is breaking our hearts! Rest in Peace, Norma. ❤️
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