After a day of rumors and uncertainty, Rapper Lil Tay appears to be alive. TMZ reported that the teen rapper's family provided a statement saying that she is safe, following reports of her death based on a post shared to her Instagram on Aug. 9.
The statement reads: "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."
The original post reporting her death, which has since been removed from her Instagram account, said that the “outcome was unexpected and has left us all in shock.” It also reported that her brother had died. Following the post, some people online expressed doubt as to its veracity, as her father and former manager would not confirm her death, and several police departments contacted by media outlets did not have reports of her death.
"My Instagram account was compromised by a 3rd party and used to spread jarring misinformation and rumors regarding me, to the point that even my name was wrong," the statement continued. It also clarified that her legal name is Tay Tian, not Claire Hope, as had been widely used in past press coverage of her.
Following the Instagram post reporting her death, her father and her former manager, Henry Tsang, both said separately that they could not confirm the teen star’s passing. Tsang told the Daily Beast, “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.” He elaborated in a TikTok post. Tian's father declined to comment on whether or not his daughter was still alive.
Insider also reported that the Vancouver Police Department had no reports of her death, and the Los Angeles Police Department told the publication that it, too, has “no information on an investigation into the death of anyone named Claire Hope.”
Tian, who is originally from Atlanta, Ga., and later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, first entered the public eye in 2018, when videos of her at age 9 went viral. She could be seen cursing, flaunting expensive watches and money. Over the course of her short career online, she amassed over 3 million followers on Instagram, where she posted relatively infrequently. Her most recent post was uploaded in June 2018, dedicated to the late rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot near a motorcycle dealership in Florida. Her post says that she looked to him as a “father figure.” She also befriended the controversial creator Woah Vicky.
Tian gave an interview to the Daily Beast in 2019 alongside her mother, a year after concerning posts were shared on her Instagram claiming to have "bad news about Tay." In the interview, she said "I'm in a bad situation" with her father and spoke about a custody battle, relocating to Vancouver to live with her dad and being homeschooled.
Following the initial reports of her death, her memorial post for XXXTentacion was flooded with new comments from users saying, “Rest in peace X and Tay.”
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