Reports of Lil Tay's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, According to... Lil Tay

Reports of rapper and influencer Lil Tay's death have swept the internet, but some believe it could be a death hoax. Here's what we know.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Aug. 10 2023, Updated 1:54 p.m. ET

The gist:

  • Rapper and influencer Lil Tay first went viral when she was 9 years old. After some time in the spotlight and drama surrounding her father, she disappeared from the public eye.
  • Then, on Aug. 9, 2023, an announcement appeared on her Instagram account claiming that Lil Tay and her brother both died.
  • However, several police departments have denied that they are investigating her death. Lil Tay herself even made a statement to TMZ.
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The entire internet was reeling upon the announcement of 15-year-old rapper and influencer Lil Tay’s sudden and tragic death. However, as more details come out about what happened to her, it’s beginning to look like she hasn’t actually died. Her cause of death was undisclosed, and beyond that, her family had very little to say about what actually happened to Lil Tay and her brother.

Lil Tay first went viral in 2017 when she was only 9 years old for starting beef with influencers and showing off her lavish lifestyle. But after parental abuse allegations surfaced, Lil Tay’s accounts grew mysteriously quiet. Now, after five years of silence, she’s back in the headlines for her inexplicable death … but is Lil Tay really dead, or is it just a death hoax?

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Lil Tay may not actually be dead. There’s a conspiracy that her parents faked her death on social media.

Lil Tay became a viral sensation by posting outrageous videos on Instagram and YouTube with the help and encouragement of her brother, Jason Tian. But after complicated custody battles and legal battles for American work permits, Lil Tay’s stardom ended as quickly as it began. All her accounts went dark, although her YouTube account eerily had the bio, “help me.”

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Because Lil Tay was only 10 years old at the time (she said she was 9, but she was actually born in October 2007, according to The Cut), her brother, then-16-year-old Jason Tian, ran all her social media accounts.

He was also allegedly the inspiration behind her shot to stardom — he had tried to go viral with similar inciting videos, but his attempts were a bust.

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So, he coached his little sister and helped her become Lil Tay. Now, almost six years later, Lil Tay’s Instagram account posted an ominous message stating, "It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire's sudden and tragic passing. 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."

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The internet went wild trying to figure out how Lil Tay and her brother died, while others are trying to figure out if they really did die. In fact, several outlets have confirmed with both the Vancouver Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department that there are no active investigations into her or her brother’s deaths.

“We haven’t gotten any reports of either death here,” the Vancouver P.D. told the New York Post. “As of now, we are not aware and are not investigating.”

The Daily Beast also reported, “The L.A. County Coroner’s office told The Daily Beast that they had no record of Claire Hope, Claire Eileen Qi Hope, or her brother Jason Tian, in their system.”

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It’s possible that the announcement on Lil Tay’s Instagram account is a death hoax.

The strange circumstances don’t end with the police. When the New York Post reached Lil Tay’s father, Christopher Hope, at his Vancouver law firm, he told them, “Yeah, you have the right person, but I don’t have any comment right now. I’m not able to give you any comment right now. I’m sorry — I can’t.”

The Post asked if anyone else might be able to confirm, to which Christopher replied, “Um, no, not that that I’m aware of. Sorry, I can’t really comment or give you any help — I’m just going to let you go,” and he hung up.

In 2018, Jason created a GoFundMe detailing Christopher’s alleged abuse towards Lil Tay to raise funds.

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Lil Tay & mother Angela Tian on Good Morning America
Source: ABC

Now, the internet is swirling with rumors about what actually happened to Lil Tay. Some believe the abuse allegations and imagine Lil Tay and her brother were murdered.

Others think they could have died in separate freak accidents or from drug use. Some have even suggested a suicide pact after years in and out of the spotlight.

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Yet despite the wild rumors surrounding the death of her and her brother, details of their untimely ends have been revealed to be wildly exaggerated. On Aug. 10, 2023, Lil Tay herself made a statement confirming that she was alive and that her Instagram was hacked.

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Lil Tay made a statement confirming that she and her brother are alive.

Lil Tay made a statement to TMZ to untangle the rumors surrounding her death.

"I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive," she told the outlet. "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."

In her statement TMZ, Lil Tay addressed several pieces of misinformation. She claimed that her Instagram was hacked and used to "spread jarring misinformation" about herself. For instance, her real name is Tay Tian, and not "Claire Hope" as was previously reported.

As of this writing, Lil Tay has reportedly gotten control of her Instagram account back and is working to untangle the mess that came from the hack.

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