Viral internet sensation Lil Tay is reportedly “safe and alive” despite a false death announcement shared via Instagram on Wednesday, August 9

“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. 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. 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,” the since-deleted announcement shared via Lil Tay’s Instagram profile read. “Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”

Just one day later, the 14-year-old told TMZ that she is “completely heartbroken” over the reports of her death, adding that she “was bombarded with endless heartbreaking and tearful phone calls from loved ones all while trying to sort out this mess.”

The news naturally left fans both shocked and curious about the young teen’s life, real name, career and more.

Who Is Lil Tay?

The aspiring rapper accrued more than 3 million Instagram followers, ​but her account had been inactive for more than five years, leaving many curious about the young internet sensation and her life offline. Lil Tay rose to fame at just 9 years old after sharing a series of outrageous diss videos flashing money and wealth, referring to herself as the “youngest flexer of the century.”

What Is Lil Tay’s Real Name?

Despite reports that Lil Tay’s real name was Claire Hope, the teenager later revealed that was incorrect. 

“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,” she told TMZ. “My legal name is Tay Tian, not ‘Claire Hope.’”

While it’s unclear how she became known by her stage name, her half-brother, Jason Tian, was the brains behind the operation. 

According to reports, Jason – who was also rumored to have died suddenly in August 2023 – wrote his sister’s shocking lines and coached her on how to act the part. 

What Happened to Lil Tay?

Details surrounding the teenager’s false death remain unclear; however, the announcement claimed that her passing was “sudden.” Prior to her death, the public had not heard from Lil Tay since she opened up about the passing of rapper XXXtentacion in June 2018.

Lil Tay Family Meet Claire Hopes Parents and Brother
Courtesy of Lil Tay/Instagram

“X you truly changed me,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “You were there for me when everyone wanted me to fail, you were there to give me advice, you were there. As a father figure, when I don’t have one, you were here, FaceTiming me and calling me for hours when I’m down … I can’t believe this, the evil in the world, This isn’t good Bye I Love you Bro.”

Prior to her social media silence, Lil Tay’s parents, Angela Tian and Christopher Hope, were locked in a bitter custody battle over their daughter. All of her photos and videos were erased from her Instagram profile in June 2018, and the words “help me” were shared to her Story. Her father was later accused of abuse, though the allegations were reportedly the result of her account being hacked and Christopher later denied the claims.

“My daughter is hurting and she is angry. I regret that I was unable to stop all the negative things from happening to her,” a lawyer for Lil Tay’s father told Hollywood Life in October 2018. “I am heartbroken about what has happened, not only to her, but also to my other family members, due to past events and now, due to the lies and harassment that were posted on Instagram.”

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