Viral rapper Lil Tay, real name Claire Hope, has died. She was 14.
In a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday (Aug. 9), Lil Tay’s family announced the sudden passing of the young rapper. “It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” the statement read.
The statement also referenced the death of Lil Tay’s brother, Jason Tian.
“We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain. The 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 circumstances surrounding Claire and her brother’s passing are still under investigation,” the statement continued.
The causes of Lil Tay and her brother’s deaths are unclear at time of publishing. The comments section on the family’s Instagram statement has been turned off.
“Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her,” the family’s statement concluded.
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The young rapper went viral in 2017 after posting videos rapping in mansions and “flexing” cash and expensive cars. Some of her most controversial videos showed her smoking hookah and getting into fights with other social media personalities.
Despite her massive following, Lil Tay had been absent from social media for around four years, with her last Instagram post being a tribute to late rapper XXXTentacion in 2018. “X you truly changed me .. you were there for me when everyone wanted me to fail, you were there to give me advice, you were there. As a father figure, when I don’t have one, you were here,” she wrote at the time.
In 2021, Lil Tay’s brother made a rare post on his sister’s Instagram account accusing their father, Chris Hope, of abusing Lil Tay.
The post has since been deleted, but according to Paper, Tay was seen crying in a video, and her brother’s caption accused Chris and Tay’s stepmother, Hanee Hope, of physical and mental abuse.
Jason claimed that Lil Tay was “scratched, beaten, and repeatedly thrown in a dark closet.” He also accused Chris and Hanee of living off “the millions they stole from [Lil Tay],” and claimed that “Tay has no money left to pay lawyers for fighting for her freedom, her father has stolen everything from her.”
At the time, he launched a GoFundMe to cover her legal fees. “I am just now speaking out about this because I am no longer a minor and now have the right to do so without harming my family legally. All people alleging that I am ‘stealing money’ through a GoFundMe please look at the facts. Look at the police reports about the abuse, this is a serious situation,” Jason said at the time.
In response, Lil Tay’s father denied the allegations, sharing, “I am not fighting about money; I am fighting for my daughter—for her happiness and her future.”
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