“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” Hope’s family announced on Lil Tay’s Instagram page, which has 3.3 million followers. “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. 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. 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 last posted to Instagram in June 2018.
Lil Tay achieved viral fame as a 9-year-old social media influencer. The self-proclaimed “youngest flexer of the century,” she became known for her expletive-filled Instagram videos depicting a lavish hip-hop lifestyle. In one video, she boasted about buying a $200,000 sports car despite not having a drivers license. In another, filmed atop a Beverly Hills viewpoint, she proclaimed, “I run L.A.” Lil Tay was associated with popular rappers including Chief Keef and XXXTentacion, whom she called a “father figure” in a 2018 Instagram post. She drew backlash for using the N-word, later apologizing to those she had “offended.” In 2018, she starred in a three-episode docuseries about her rise to fame titled “Life With Lil Tay.”
After disappearing from the internet five years ago, Lil Tay was launched into a custody battle between her parents, while suspicious allegations appeared online about her family situation and safety. In June 2018, Lil Tay’s Instagram was wiped clean, and the words “help me” were posted to her story.
In an alleged Instagram hack a few months later, a series of abuse allegations against her father, Christopher Hope, were posted to Lil Tay’s Instagram. The allegations claimed that Hope had court-ordered Lil Tay back to Canada in order to profit off her earnings. Lil Tay’s manager at the time, Harry Tsang, claimed the allegations were fabricated in a 2018 interview with The Daily Beast.
In a phone interview with The Daily Beast alongside her mother, Angela Tian, Lil Tay said, “Right now I’m in a bad situation and I don’t want to talk about these things,” adding that her father had “filed something to the court and the court ordered us to go back here, and he said that I was in danger and stuff.”
She said of Hope: “He was threatening to arrest — to have my mom arrested if we didn’t go back… I didn’t see him for multiple years. He never saw me for so long, it’s obvious he just came back because he wants money.”
This story is still developing.