Teen Rapper Lil Tay Reportedly Alive, Despite Statement Announcing Her Death (Updated)

Lil Tay (Credit: Instagram/@liltay)

Updated on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023:
Lil Tay is apparently alive. In a statement sent to TMZ on Thursday, the viral teen rapper said her Instagram account was hacked, and the since-deleted post announcing her death was fake. “I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive, but I’m completely heartbroken, and struggling to even find the right words to say. It’s been a very traumatizing 24 hours,” the statement said.

Despite reports that the internet sensation is alive, her management team confirmed to Variety on Wednesday that she had died. Meanwhile, Lil Tay’s former manager, Harry Tsang, tells Fox News Digital the death announcement may have been a publicity stunt to “illicitly extract funds from devoted supporters and unwitting bystanders.”

Lil Tay, a viral rapper and social media influencer, has died at the age of 14, representatives for the internet star said Wednesday.

While no cause of death was released for the Canadian rapper, born Claire Eileen Qi Hope, her passing is currently under investigation, according to the Aug. 9 Instagram post announcing her death.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing. We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain,” the statement began. “This outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock.”

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Her brother Jason Tian has also died at the age of 21, the statement said.

“Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief,” the statement continued. “During this time of immense sorrow, we kindly ask for privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss, as the circumstances surrounding Claire and her brother’s passing are still under investigation.”

The statement concluded, “Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”

Lil Tay’s management team confirmed her death to Variety.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lil Tay started gaining traction online in 2018 through viral posts flaunting luxury cars and money. Earning the moniker of the “youngest flexer,” she amassed approximately 3.3 million followers on Instagram.

Despite her rapid rise to fame, Lil Tay faced criticism for using offensive language, including a racial slur in a music video in 2017. She issued an apology for her language in 2018, asserting that she was not racist.

Her public persona was the subject of debate, with some believing that she was being exploited by family members. In response, Lil Tay maintained that her actions were her choice and expressed pride in her achievements.

“People think it’s funny, I guess, cause I’m 9-years-old and I’ve accomplished so much,” she said during an appearance on Good Morning America in 2018. “I’m the youngest flexer. I can do anything I like. If they don’t believe me, I don’t care.”

“No one is forcing me to do this,” she added at the time. “This is my decision. I am happy with what I am doing.”

Her mother, Angela Tian, described her daughter as a “really a great, well-behaved kid,” and insisted that her behavior on social media was just “all for entertainment.”

Other controversies continued to emerge, however, including a series of since-deleted Instagram posts suggesting that Lil Tay was being exploited by her mother, along with a video hinting that she was being coached by her brother into following a script, according to Insider.

Lil Tay stopped posting on Instagram in 2018, following these incidents. Her final post commemorated the death of rapper XXXTentacion, with whom she was planning a charity event that year.