Lil Tay, Viral Internet Star, Dead At 14

UPDATE 8/10/2023: Lil Tay is alive, TMZ reports. The rapper reportedly told the outlet that her Instagram was hacked by someone who posted a death hoax. Lil Tay's statement from her family also corrected the false information in the post about her name. Lil Tay's real name is Tay Tian, not Claire Hope.

Viral internet star Claire Hope, better known as "Lil Tay," has tragically passed away at the age of 14. 

Hope's family revealed the loss of the young teen on social media. They shared, " 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 outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock." The family also revealed that the social media influencer's brother, Jason Tian, has recently passed away as well. The statement goes on to say, " 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."

Hope began her internet career in 2017 at nine years old. A year later, her videos went viral for her controversial behavior, including cussing, holding wads of cash, and calling out other YouTubers. The child became an internet sensation, per Daily Mail. But Hope's social media popularity came and went. She stopped posting regularly in the summer of 2018. In 2021, she posted a video alleging that she was abused by her family, per Complex. She was also apparently in a legal battle with her father. Unfortunately, with the news of Hope's passing, there are still a lot of questions remaining as to what has happened to her these past couple of years.

Lil Tay's family life was complicated

Just as Claire "Lil Tay" Hope was gaining fame online, she vanished. It seems a custody battle between Claire's mother, Angela Tian, and her father, Christopher Hope caused Claire's internet absence. In March 2019, Claire broke her silence to The Daily Beast about her disappearance from social media and revealed that she was in a "bad situation" with her father, Chris. Claire said, "Well, he filed something to the court and the court ordered us to go back here, and he said that I was in danger and stuff." 

Claire also alleged to The Daily Beast that she was "literally locked in a closet" while staying with her father and his wife, a claim Hope denied. The outlet also spoke with Christopher, who said he was concerned about the controversial internet persona of his daughter. He said, "I was really unhappy that she had dropped out of school to participate in inappropriate activities that I thought could negatively affect her future and her present." 

Claire, who described herself in a rap song as the "youngest flexer in the century," and her mother believed that Christopher wanted a cut of his daughter's success. Claire and Angela claimed the court ordered the preteen rapper to go silent online. Aside from multiple, mysterious hacking Instagram incidents, she maintained a lower profile. According to court documents revealed by Insider, Chris and Tian were awarded joint custody, but the sensation that was Lil Tay seemed to be a thing of the past.