Lil Tay, Teen Rapper and Social Influencer, Dies at 14

Lil Tay, a controversial teen rapper and social influencer, has died at 14.

The death of the viral internet star — who’s real name is Claire Eileen Qi Hope — is currently under investigation, according to a post on her verified Instagram account, where her death was announced on Wednesday.

“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 says. “This outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock.”

It concluded, “Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”

According to the Instagram statement, which is not attributed to anyone and has its comments locked, Lil Tay’s brother Jason Tian has also died.

“Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief,” the statement continued. “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.”

Hope, who grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, rose to internet fame in 2018 after pictures and videos of her were posted online in which she was seen flashing money and flaunting luxury cars. Taking on the label of the “youngest flexer,” the young social media star — who faced criticism for using profanity and a racial slur in a video — had amassed around 3.3 million followers on Instagram.

Hope apologized in 2018 for her use of the anti-Black slur, which was featured in a video from December 2017, in a statement in which she also said, “I’m not racist at all.”

The apology followed her appearance on Good Morning America, during which she pushed back against critics who said the then-9-year-old was being exploited by her family members.

“People think it’s funny, I guess, cause I’m 9-years-old and I’ve accomplished so much,” she said. “I’m the youngest flexer. I can do anything I like. If they don’t believe me, I don’t care.”

Described by her mother at the time as a “well-mannered and a great kid, well-behaved,” Hope added that “no one is forcing me to do this. This is my decision. I am happy with what I am doing.”

Hope starred in a short-lived web docuseries Life With Lil Tay on The Zeus Network, a streaming platform for influencers, before a series of Instagram posts alleging exploitation by her mother and a video in which it appeared as if her brother could be heard coaching her on her lines surfaced and then were removed, according to Insider.

Before her death, the viral star’s Instagram had remained silent since the incidents, with the last post featuring a message mourning the death of controversial rapper XXXTentacion, who, according to the post, was planning a charity event with Hope in 2018, the same year he died.

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