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The deeper message in the viral video of Ryan Gosling eating cereal

Director Ryan Gosling attends Apple Store Soho Presents Meet the Filmmaker: Ryan Gosling, "Lost River" at Apple Store Soho on April 11, 2015, in New York City.
Director Ryan Gosling attends Apple Store Soho Presents Meet the Filmmaker: Ryan Gosling, "Lost River" at Apple Store Soho on April 11, 2015, in New York City.
Brad Barket/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Ryan Gosling did something that sent the internet into a frenzy: he ate cereal.

For those familiar with the (surprisingly complex) lore of Gosling, this was a truly touching act.

For many people, Ryan Gosling chewing on cornflakes is just Ryan Gosling chewing on cornflakes. Why is a good-looking man eating cereal actually about grief and human mortality? Read on.

Why is Ryan Gosling eating cereal? Does Ryan Gosling usually not eat cereal?

To fully understand why this video means so much, you have to go back to 2013, when a man named Ryan McHenry started creating Vines — short, seven-second videos — that featured Ryan Gosling's often stoic, closed-mouthed onscreen characters while someone tried to "feed" those fictional humans cereal.

It's actually better explained by watching the Vines:

Here's another:

Here's a YouTube compilation with even more:

McHenry's videos were very popular. Many of them got millions of plays.

"Part one and two were liked by friends, but part 3 made it to the popular page on Vine, that’s when my followers jumped from 8 - 180," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. "Then every video I released afterwards made the popular page and began building towards 10,000 followers. I’m just really happy that people around the world are laughing at them. "

So why is Ryan Gosling eating the cereal now?

Gosling is eating the cereal because McHenry, 27, died on Sunday. He had bone cancer.

Gosling talked about McHenry's death on Twitter:

Gosling's Vine is as silly and playful as it is somber and touching. McHenry made plenty of us laugh with his videos and touched a lot of people's lives. Gosling is making sure that we never forget.

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