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Internet rapper Lil Tay dead at 14, statement on her Instagram says

The viral internet sensation who called herself the "youngest flexer of the century" is dead at 14, according to an Instagram post.
Internet rapper Lil Tay dead at 14 in 'sudden and tragic' passing
Posted at 3:09 PM, Aug 09, 2023

Editor's Note: Following the publication of this article, TMZ has reported that Lil Tay is indeed alive, sharing a statement from the artist affirming, "My brother and I are safe and alive."

SEE MORE: Report: Lil Tay is still alive, claims Instagram account was hacked

Lil Tay, a social media influencer and rapper known for her controversial videos, has died at the age of 14, according to a post on her social media. 

A statement posted to the Instagram page of the internet star, with the real name Claire Hope, reported that she had tragically died on Wednesday.

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

The post goes on to share that Lil Tay's brother, Jason Tian, has also passed, adding "an even more unimaginable depth to our grief." Both deaths are under investigation, according to the post.

Few details were able to be immediately confirmed. 

The last time Lil Tay shared content to her more than 3.3 million Instagram followers was in June 2018, after which she seemingly and suddenly disappeared from the internet.

She had become a 9-year-old viral sensation that year when her profanity-ridden videos as the self-described "youngest flexer of the century" drew both fans and critics. The clips typically showed the young entertainer flashing all the signs of a lavish lifestyle, including driving expensive sports cars without a license, or by flashing what appeared to be thousands of dollars in cash in front of the camera. 

Her then 16-year-old brother, Jason Tian, was said to be the person behind the scenes, after a video surfaced of him coaching his sister on how to appear in the viral videos.

Lil Tay went on to star in a docuseries about her life and work with top rappers, like Chief Keef and XXXTentacion. 

Her last Instagram post was dedicated to XXXTentacion after his death, in which she called him "a father figure, when I don't have one."

Soon after her newfound fame, Lil Tay disappeared from the internet, wiping her Instagram in June 2018, leaving only a story with the words "help me." At the time, she was reportedly part of a custody battle between her parents, according to the Daily Beast. Her father reportedly wanted her to move back to his home in Canada.

In an interview, Lil Tay said she was "in a bad situation" with her father — Chris Hope — who she said threatened her, causing her to delete her Instagram content. She claimed her father said he would have her mother arrested.

Lil Tay also said she was court-ordered to live with her father, and claimed her father locked her in a closet while he wasn't home in 2014 — a claim Tian also said was true.

Her father said there was never any abuse from him and that "whoever was running the Instagram - I think we all know who was running the Instagram - made a lot of false allegations." He said he was unhappy his daughter dropped out of school "to participate in inappropriate activities" that he "thought could negatively affect her future and her present."

Immediately after a statement was posted to Lil Tay's page on Wednesday regarding her death, her father declined to comment confirming if his daughter was alive or not to his knowledge, according to a report on Insider

Her former manager, Harry Tsang, also told the publication he couldn't comment on the statement's validity, though reports say he hasn't been in contact with the family for some time.

Scripps News was not able to immediately independently confirm the statements through Hope or Tsang.

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