The Tragic Death Of Toddlers & Tiaras Star Kailia Posey

Kailia Posey, "Toddlers & Tiaras" alum and the girl who spawned a thousand memes, has died. She was only 16 years old. Her mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, took to Facebook to announce the tragic news. "I don't have words or any thoughts," she wrote. "A beautiful baby girl is gone. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever." She initially didn't reveal the reason behind the untimely passing of her daughter, but the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office confirmed with People that Kailia's death is now part of a "multi-agency investigation."

"Yesterday on May 2 at about 1:26 p.m., Washington State Patrol was called to assist Whatcom Sheriff's department to assist in a death investigation involving a minor at Birch Bay State Park," Washington State Trooper Jacob Kennett told the outlet. The Washington State Parks Department and the Blaine Police Department are also involved in the investigation.

To say that Kailia's death was shocking would be an understatement.

Kailia Posey's family confirmed that she died of suicide

Only a day after Kailia Posey's mom announced her death, her family confirmed the reason behind her passing to TMZ.

In a statement, her family revealed that she took her own life. "Although she was an accomplished teenager with a bright future ahead of her, unfortunately in one impetuous moment, she made the rash decision to end her earthly life," the statement read. The family went on to highlight how accomplished Kailia was at such a young age, and how she had a bright future ahead of her. "She won countless crowns & trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life ... Her highly acclaimed talent as a contortionist had already led to professional touring job offers, and she had recently been selected to be a cheerleader at her high school next fall." They also shared Kailia's plans of becoming a pilot, which she wanted to do alongside a career in the entertainment industry.

In honor of Kailia, her family set up a fund in her name at the Whatcom Community Foundation to help students in crises who are in need of more resources.

Kailia Posey was a pageant girl through and through

Kailia Posey joined the pageant world at a young age, having joined "Toddlers & Tiaras" at only 5 years old. But according to her mom, she started her pageant career earlier than that. "When Kailia was younger, when she was 3, she started doing pageants," her mom, Marcy Posey Gatterman, said on the show. "She's a pro when she hits that stage, she'll say she's nervous but once she hits that stage she's a pro. She's gonna beat you, every time." Marcy continued, "Kailia has a very good talent. I mean, just completely amazing. I don't know anybody that's competition for Kailia."

On Instagram, Kailia would often share pictures of the pageants she joined and the prizes she won. In February, she won second runner-up at Miss Lynden Teen USA, and in April 2021, she went home with $3,000 at the Ultimate Dream Queen Nationals.

Days before her death, Kailia celebrated her 16th birthday. She shared a series of photos celebrating the occasion with friends and family. She posted her last photo on April 24 donning a red dress, writing, "None of your concern."

Kailia Posey received an outpour of support online

Because Kailia Posey inadvertently contributed so much to the pop culture zeitgeist because of her viral meme, fans showered her love online.

"16 is so young. She didn't even get a chance to live her life yet. Sad. R.I.P.," one fan tweeted. "Thank you for being someone to look up to Kailia. Rest in peace," another wrote on Instagram. Many also took this time as an opportunity to highlight the importance of one's mental health. "Got a friend struggling very severely right now with mental health issues. They're taking the right steps to get help they need," a user on Twitter wrote. "It's always good to acknowledge when you're down and get help. We all struggle, check up on your friends & loved ones, could be their last day." 

Meanwhile, one of her friends, magician Kadan Bart Rockett, posted a tribute to her on Instagram. "You knew her from the TV show Toddlers & Tiaras, the Netflix movie, ELI, her viral video & GIF, as an incredible contortionist as well as Pageant Queen but to me, she was Kailia; my first 'girlfriend', my first magicians assistant & my forever friend. Her smile lit up every room she entered & her sweet spirit will live on forever in our hearts," he wrote. "I cannot began to comprehend WHY. If only I could have talked to you one more time. If you or anyone your know is struggling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. PLEASE reach out to family, friends or most any other human!"

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.