14-Year-Old Rapper, Lil Tay, Dies Unexpectedly – No Cause of Death Revealed

Lil Tay was just 9 years old when she started going viral on social media for her expletive-filled videos that highlighted her lavish hip-hop lifestyle. She built up a following of 3+ million people on Instagram and was hanging out with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, but her last post was on June 18, 2018. 

On Wednesday (August 9) – more than five years since her last post – her family took to her Instagram to share the devastating news of her passing. Lil Tay had just turned 14 years old on July 29. A cause of death wasn’t revealed and they spared fans of the details, but confirmed her brother passed away as well.

“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,” they wrote of Lil Tay (born Claire Eileen Qi Hope). 

The family goes on to explain that her passing was ‘entirely unexpected’ and has left those close to her in complete ‘shock’ – adding that her brother’s passing ‘adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief.’ They kindly asked fans for privacy and said the circumstances of her death are still being investigated. 

“Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her,” her family concluded in the statement. The post received nearly 700,000 likes on Instagram in just over four hours with thousands of fans taking to social media to send condolences.

The deaths come roughly two years after Lil Tay’s older brother, Jason Tian (who is believed to be the one who died recently), created a GoFundMe account seeking nearly $20,000 to help ‘support her fight against her abusive father,’ Chris Hope – who has been absent from her life since leaving her mother.

“Starting April 23, 2021, 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,” he wrote in the description – it was last updated on April 29, 2021.

At the forefront, Lil Tay became famous in 2017 when videos of her acting obnoxious and ignorant started going viral. At just 9 years old, people were amused by her antics and, while she wasn’t actually like that in real life, she became a bit of a character to the social media world – a character she had to maintain.

In 2019, an article by The Cut claimed that there was more to her rise to fame than meets the eye – further claiming that it was her brother, Jason, who orchestrated her character. In fact, the outlet called her brother the ‘genius behind the curtain’ and Lil Tay was more the face and the attitude of his ideas.

Jason started posting on YouTube as Rycie several years prior to her rise, but he never gained any traction and never developed a fanbase. So, he decided to bring his sister in on his plan and they ended up going viral together – with some videos even showing him coaching her on what to say or do. 

Of course, this caused a bit of controversy after some fans accused Jason of exploiting his sister – which prompted his disappearance from social media. Outside of the GoFundMe account in 2021, neither of the two have been active on social media – adding to the complete shock over their recent passing.