TikTok star Rochelle "Roe" Hager, a lesbian and activist for LGBTQ+ causes, was killed Monday morning in a freak accident in Farmington, Maine.
Hager, 31, was driving in extremely windy conditions shortly before 10 a.m. when a pine tree branch fell and hit her car, killing her instantly, Maine's Morning Sentinel reports. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was on the phone with her fiancee, Brittanie Lynn Ritchie, at the time.
"It happened really quick," Ritchie, 28, told the Morning Sentinel. "She has a phone mounted in her vent. I just heard a crash and then there was nothing. She didn't see the tree coming. It was instant."
The women, who met last June, shared their love story in TikTok videos. They planned to marry in October and had already selected a venue and a photographer. Ritchie said her two children, aged 9 and 4, loved Hager, and the women were talking about having another child and had even picked out a name for a daughter. "She was amazing," Ritchie said of Hager.
Hager had accrued more than 163,000 followers on TikTok, where she "also participated in viral challenges, like tasting hot sauces and lip-syncing to songs," Peoplereports.
In addition to promoting LGBTQ+ rights, Hager was an advocate for people in recovery, having gone through addiction herself and gotten sober 10 years ago. She then went to culinary school in Florida, where she had grown up. She moved to Maine last year and worked as a chef at Amici's Cucina in Waterville, the town where she lived, then as executive chef at the Woodlands, a Waterville housing complex for seniors.
"She did make such a huge impact on the lives of the residents she served," Benjamin Smith, the Woodlands' director of operations, told the Morning Sentinel. She had a warm and charming personality and did special favors for residents, such as making pea soup for a man who craved it, Smith said.
A celebration of Hager's life will be held later in Pittsburgh, where her parents live now, and one may be held in Florida as well, Ritchie said.