Lil Tay, the social media star and rapper, has died.
Her death was announced on Wednesday, August 9, in an Instagram statement seemingly shared by her family, who also confirmed the recent death of her brother, Jason Tian.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” read the statement. “We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain. This outcome was entirely unexpected, and has left us all in shock. Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief.”
A cause of death was not revealed, but the statement noted that “the circumstances surrounding Claire and her brother’s passing are still under investigation.”
“During this time of immense sorrow, we kindly ask for privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss,” the statement continued. “Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”
When reached for comment by Us Weekly, Lil Tay’s management team replied, “With profound regret, we confirm the accuracy of the statement.”
Lil Tay — whose real name is Claire Eileen Qi Hope — rose to fame in 2018 for her foulmouthed videos, which often showed her waving stacks of cash. At the time, she claimed to be 9 years old, but a 2019 New York magazine story later reported that she was actually 10 when her videos started gaining traction.
Less than one year later, however, Lil Tay seemingly disappeared as fast as she arrived. Before the statement appeared on her Instagram, her last post on the platform was uploaded in June 2018.
Later in 2018, an unknown user uploaded a post claiming that Tay’s father, Christopher John Hope, was abusive. “He banned her off of social media because he was afraid she would expose the TRUTH to the world, the truth of what he has done and hasn’t been punished for,” claimed the person, who identified themselves as “someone who previously worked with Tay.”
The post was subsequently deleted, and Chris Jones — who said he was a manager for Tay’s music — claimed that the account had been “hacked” by an unknown party. “[Not] I nor anyone have access to that account at the moment,” he told The Verge at the time.
Three years later, Tay’s late brother, Tian, created a GoFundMe he said would raise money for his sister. “Lil Tay will be fighting for her life, future and freedom starting April 23, 2021,” he claimed on the fundraiser’s page. “Tay is in desperate need of funds to support her fight against her abusive father, as a result of this situation she has been in a state of depression.”
Fans previously suspected that Tian was coaching his little sister for her videos after a leaked clip seemed to indicate that someone off-camera was feeding her lines. After the video went viral, Tay seemingly stopped posting.