The California man who cared for his elderly neighbor, Norma Cook, and shared a heartfelt friendship with her, says she has passed away. She was 89.
Chris Salvatore, 31, took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce Cook’s death, featuring a beautiful photo of his friend sitting and bathed in sunlight.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman,” Salvatore wrote. “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.”
“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,” he added. “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.”
The duo was inseparable for the last four years of Cook’s life and in her final days.
RELATED VIDEO: California Man Cares for Ailing 89-Year-Old Neighbor and Best Friend in Her Final Days: ‘Kindness Heals’
“I love her, she’s my best friend. I would do anything for her,” Salvatore, an actor and singer, told PEOPLE in January. “I believe that human kindness is a magical thing and can heal what doctors can’t.”
The two were neighbors in West Hollywood, California. When doctors told Cook she needed 24-hour at-home care this year, Salvatore stepped up to be her primary caretaker and power of attorney.
Cook, who was diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago, was given only months to live and had no immediate family in the area. Salvatore was determined to make her feel “so loved” every single day.
“Norma tells me, ‘I don’t want you to be the one to find me dead,'” he said. “It breaks my heart, because I will be the one to find her. I don’t want her to think I will be crushed, I’m trying to stay strong for her and I tell her I’ll be okay but it’s tough.”
“I’m so lucky to have her. She’s changed my life,” Salvatore continued. “She’s made me a kinder more compassionate person. I feel honored to spend her last moments with her.”