Editor’s note: This article reflects new information received since Wednesday’s initial report.
The internet was set ablaze after a statement was posted to Lil Tay’s official Instagram account on Wednesday that claimed the young influencer had passed away.
According to the note, it was penned by Tay’s family and it had stated she and her brother had tragically died.
It was apparently a hoax.
Tay has told TMZ that both she and her brother are alive.
“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. All day yesterday, I was bombarded with endless heartbreaking and tearful phone calls from loved ones all while trying to sort out this mess,” she told the outlet in a statement.
The teen also revealed that a “third party” was spreading “jarring misinformation” and that Claire Hope isn’t even her real name.
“My Instagram account was compromised by a third party and used to spread jarring misinformation and rumors regarding me, to the point that even my name was wrong. My legal name is Tay Tian, not ‘Claire Hope,'” she said.
KTLA reached out to police in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she previously lived, prior to the TMZ report. A spokesperson said that the department had not received any reports of Tay’s death and was not investigating.
Based on posts on her Instagram account, it appeared Tay had moved to Los Angeles.
KTLA reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department and a spokesperson said the department had no information regarding the incident.
Tay’s father did not confirm the passing either when Insider reached out to him for comment on Wednesday.
Her former manager, Harry Tsang, confirmed her death to The Hollywood Reporter but then walked back that confirmation with a new statement. He told the outlet he had been “in communication with individuals who have an intimate understanding of the family’s situation.”
His statement continued saying:
“Given the complexities of the current circumstances, I am at a point where I cannot definitively confirm or dismiss the legitimacy of the statement issued by the family. This situation calls for cautious consideration and respect for the sensitivities involved. My commitment remains focused on delivering updates that are both reliable and appropriately timed. In times like these, it is imperative that we prioritize accuracy and empathy. I encourage everyone to rely on reputable and official sources for information. We must exercise patience while awaiting further developments before drawing any conclusions.”
The ordeal began Wednesday morning when Tay’s official Instagram announced her passing.
“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 read. “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 voice that will be felt by all who knew and loved her,” the statement concluded.
As of Thursday morning, the account has taken down the post.
In 2018, a then-9-year-old Tay rose to fame online as the self-described “youngest flexer of the century.” Her YouTube account had about 220,000 subscribers and only two videos remaining on the account Wednesday. Both videos are from five years ago and each had racked up over a million views.
Her Instagram account is filled with content that shows off her wealth. In one video, she brags that her toilet and bathtub are worth more than a regular person’s rent.
Her Instagram account went dark after June 2018 when she posted a message on the passing of rapper XXXTentacion.
“X you truly changed me,” she wrote. “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, FaceTiming me and calling me for hours when I’m down, 3 hours ago you announced the Charity event we were going to throw, we had everything setup, I can’t believe this, the evil in the world, This isn’t good Bye. I love you Bro.”
In a 2019 article in The Cut, Tay’s success was believed to have been engineered by her half-brother, Jason Tian.