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Former Vancouver child rapper Lil Tay dies, according to statement on Instagram, but TMZ reports she’s still alive

Lil Tay
This image of Lil Tay appears on her Instagram account.

A young former rapper who attracted global attention to Vancouver supposedly died, according to a statement on her Instagram account.

However, TMZ has reported that Lil Tay is actually still alive.

“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.

It’s raised questions whether the 14-year-old’s account was hacked, as Tay has claimed. The death notification has since been pulled down.

“We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain,” the  original statement read. “This outcome was entirely unexpected and has left all us all in shock. Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief.”

The post referred to the young rapper as “Claire” and did not identify her brother. Nor did it offer any details into the circumstances. Lil Tay told TMZ that her real name is Lil Tian, not Claire Hope, as has been reported.

Maclean’s posted this interview on YouTube in 2018 when Lil Tay was nine years old.

In 2018, Lil Tay appeared on the cover of Maclean’s magazine after the then nine-year-old had gained fame for her foul-mouthed, trash-talking, money-worshipping verses. In her videos, she could be seen holding up wads of money and sometimes flinging it to the ground. This attracted more than three million followers in Instagram.

Maclean's cover Lil Tay
Maclean’s published this cover in the summer of 2018.

Earlier in 2018, the South China Morning Post revealed that Lil Tay’s videos had been filmed in Vancouver. Her mother, Angela Tian, had previously worked at a real estate agent in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Global News reported that Tian had resigned from an Oakridge-area real-estate company after a Lil Tay video featured her boss’s Mercedes without his permission.

Lil Tay later settled in Los Angeles and stopped posting rap videos on social media.

Lil Tay statement
This statement appeared on Lil Tay’s Instagram account.

Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia. This story was updated on August 10.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.