Influencer and rapper Lil Tay has personally confirmed that she is alive after a post on her verified Instagram account falsely announced that both she and her brother, Jason Tian had "unexpectedly died." Lil Tay said on Thursday that her death announcement on Wednesday was the result of a hacked Instagram account.
The 14-year-old internet personality, who shot to fame at the age of nine through a series of vulgar rap-style videos, has finally shut down all rumors about her and her brother's sudden death. Lil Tay claimed that her Instagram account was "hacked" as she refuted the false claims and assured all her fans that she is alive.
Alive, Not Dead
"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," Lil Tay told TMZ Thursday, putting an end to all the speculation and rumors.
"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."
Tay went on, "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. My legal name is Tay Tian, not 'Claire Hope.'"
A statement announcing the "unexpected" death of the young influencer, along with her older brother Jason Tian, was posted on her official Instagram page on Wednesday morning.
"We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribably pain. This outcome was entirely unexpected, and has left us all in shock," the statement read.
"Her bother'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 statement ended with the following words, "Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her."
Tay hasn't been active on Instagram since June 2018, which coincided with the period when she was entangled in a contentious custody dispute between her parents, Angela Tian and Christopher "Chris" Hope.
Hope declined to confirm his daughter's death till Wednesday night when he was contacted by multiple news outlets.
"Yeah, you have the right person, but I don't have any comment right now," the Vancouver attorney said during the brief call.
"I'm not able to give you any comment right now. I'm sorry — I can't."
Tay's YouTube bio said, "Help me," at the time of the news of her death. However, it's not clear when the ominous phrase was posted to the page.
Several diligent online sleuths interpreted the words in the post as alluding to the abuse that Tay was allegedly subjected to by her father and stepmother, Hanee Hope.
In April 2021, Jason initiated a GoFundMe campaign named "Save Tay From a Life of Abuse," which featured pictures of his younger sister displaying red marks and bruises across her face.
"Tay will be on trial in the BC Supreme Court of Canada up against her absentee father Chris Hope, who along with his wife Hanee Hope (previously known as Richanee Alcover), had physically and mentally abused her," Jason alleged on the site.
"Chris Hope is fighting to permanently gain control of her career as well as custody over her. My sister Tay has been silent on social media for the past 3 years because her absentee father (Chris Hope) served my mother a court order demanding control over Tay's money, career, and custody, and as a result it was court ordered that my sister had to return to Vancouver, Canada."
Apart from the reported instances of physical abuse and financial mishandling, Jason also claimed that Chris sent Tay to school with lunches consisting of items like "moldy bread, chicken with maggots and parasites, one-month-old pizza, soggy white bread with ketchup, cold burnt toast, and crackers."
Tay herself made similar allegations during a December 2018 interview with the Daily Beast, which she shared alongside her mother.
"Right now I'm in a bad situation and I don't want to talk about these things," Tay said at the time. When asked to elaborate on "the situation," she replied, "With Chris Hope."
However, a representative for Chris refuted the claims at the time and told the outlet in response, "There are only three things he wants to see. First, no more crazy videos of cursing from Tay. Second, 25 percent of the gross earnings going to a trust fund dedicated to Tay. The third thing is, there has to be structure in her operation, in her public image."