Lil Tay’s death was announced via her official Instagram account, but her former manager is now questioning whether the statement was true — and leading fans to wonder whether the teen social media star is still alive.
“Given the complexities of the current circumstances, I am at a point where I cannot definitively confirm or dismiss the legitimacy of the statement issued by the family,” Harry Tsang told Insider in a statement on Wednesday, August 9. “This situation calls for cautious consideration and respect for the sensitivities involved. My commitment remains focused on delivering updates that are both reliable and appropriately timed.”
Meanwhile, Lil Tay’s father, Christopher Hope, declined to comment on reports of her death when reached by the New York Post on Wednesday. “Yeah, you have the right person, but I don’t have any comment right now,” Hope said. “I’m not able to give you any comment right now. I’m sorry — I can’t.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Lil Tay’s official Instagram account shared a statement claiming that she and her brother, Jason Tian, both died.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” read the statement, which was the first post on the account in five years. “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’s author claimed 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, a person responding from the email address listed in Tay’s Instagram bio replied, “With profound regret, we confirm the accuracy of the statement.”
Tay — whose real name is Claire Eileen Qi Hope — rose to fame in 2018 for videos in which she showed off stacks of cash and luxury items. She described herself as the internet’s “youngest flexer.”
When she first appeared online, Tay claimed to be 9, but New York magazine reported in 2019 that she was born on July 29, 2007, which would have made her 10 in the videos.
Almost as soon as she appeared, however, Lil Tay vanished. Before the statement announcing her alleged death was uploaded on Wednesday, her Iast Instagram post was shared in June 2018. At the time, a video was circulating online that seemed to show her brother feeding her the foulmouthed lines that became her signature.
Later in 2018, an unknown user uploaded a post via the Lil Tay account claiming that her father was abusive. The post was quickly deleted, and Chris Jones — who said he was a manager for Tay’s music — claimed that the account had been “hacked.”
Hope, for his part, denied the allegations, telling HollywoodLife that he was “heartbroken” about the situation. “When my daughter’s social media began to go viral this year, I disagreed with most of the social media activity,” he said in October 2018. “I took legal steps to stop things which I felt were dangerous to her physical and mental health and to her future. I do not think a 10-year-old girl should be put in those situations and made to drop out of school so that she can make money for other people.”
Three years later, Tay’s brother created a GoFundMe he claimed would raise money for his sister in a legal battle with their parents. “Lil Tay will be fighting for her life, future and freedom starting April 23, 2021,” he wrote 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.”
Hope shares Tay and Jason with Angela Tian, who New York magazine described as Tay’s “primary caretaker” in 2019.
Us Weekly has reached out to Hope for comment.