The death of Lil Tay, a young social media star who went viral for her foulmouthed videos, as well as the death of her older brother, was reported Wednesday on social media by an unnamed family member. She was 14, according to multiple reports.
No details were immediately available. The statement said the deaths were “under investigation.” Subsequently, the father of the rising rapper, Christopher Hope, and the star’s former manager, Harry Tsang, said they could not confirm the teen’s death, according to Insider.
The Instagram statement said: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing.” (Lil Tay’s real name was Claire Hope.)
“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 Instagram statement continued. “Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief.”
Claire’s brother was 21-year-old Jason Tian, an aspiring rapper, according to media reports. He was also said to have created the social media character that his sister embodied.
Hope told Insider that he could not comment on the Instagram statement announcing Claire’s death and declined to answer whether his daughter was still alive. Tsang added that he could not “definitively confirm or dismiss the legitimacy of the statement issued by the family” due to the “complexities of the current circumstances.”
“This situation calls for cautious consideration and respect for the sensitivities involved,” Tsang told Insider. “My commitment remains focused on delivering updates that are both reliable and appropriately timed.”
The publication previously reported a schism in the family over control of the teenager’s career — with Tsang and Hope’s father on one side and her brother and mother on the other.
Lil Tay rose to popularity in 2018 for her Instagram photos and posts where she flaunted designer clothes and luxury cars. In a March 2018 video, Claire claimed that the tub and toilet in her bathroom each “cost more than your rent.”
As of Wednesday, the teenager’s two YouTube videos — one touring Jake Paul’s home, one about her feud with internet star-rapper Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli — had amassed more than 4 million views, and her Instagram account boasts more than 3 million followers.
In 2018, the social media star gained the attention of YouTube personality Jake Paul, Bregoli, who went viral for her “Dr. Phil” appearance, and internet personality Woah Vicky.
Her videos also caught Snoop Dogg’s eye. But it seemed he was not a fan, calling out Lil Tay’s act in 2018.
“She need to be in school learning how to be a little girl not a dumb a— grown person,” he captioned a video of the internet star.
Lil Tay — who moved from Canada to Los Angeles with her family — told “Good Morning America’s” Juju Chang in an 2018 interview that “no one’s forcing me to do this” and that her mother — Angela Tian — was not exploiting her.
She continued: “This is my decision. I’m happy with what I’m doing.”
Despite her internet fame, Lil Tay seemingly did not post more videos or photos on her social media accounts after 2018. Before the announcement of the rapper’s death, the most recent post on her Instagram account was a tribute to the late musician XXXTentacion.
The family’s Wednesday statement asked fans and social media followers to give them “privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss.”
“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 statement concluded.
Times staff writers Christi Carras and Jonah Valdez contributed to this report.