Update (8/10/23 02:15 p.m. ET):: On Wednesday August 9, 2023, a post on Lil Tay’s Instagram page announced the passing of the viral teen star. Lil Tay’s family revealed that the 14-year-old, whose real name is Claire Hope, had died. “It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” the statement, which was posted on Lil Tay’s Instagram, said. “We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain. The outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock.”
However, hours after the announcement was made, Insider made contact with Christopher John Hope, Lil Tay’s father, who reportedly declined to comment on the Instagram post and wouldn’t confirm whether or not she was still alive to the outlet. Her former manager Harry Tsang similarly told the outlet he “could not confirm or deny the news.” Law enforcement from both Los Angeles and Vancouver, Canada also said that there was not an investigation into Tay’s death.
Then, the very next day, the teen rapper, alive and well, released a statement sharing that the Instagram post was false via TMZ . The teen star admitted that the hoax came from a third party that had gained control of her Instagram account. “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,” she said.
Given the conflicting news, many fans are searching for answers and looking back at the reported nature of the relationship between Lil Tay and her father, especially given that, back in 2018, there were allegations made by an unknown source of abuse. Below is HollywoodLife’s interview with Christopher from October 25, 2018:
Original: Christopher John Hope, the father of 11-year-old rapper Lil Tay, has spoken out in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife after a hacker accused him of abusing his daughter and “destroying her life” for financial gain. “My daughter is hurting and she is angry. I regret that I was unable to stop all the negative things from happening to her,” Chris, a lawyer in Vancouver, told HL in an email exchange. “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. I don’t know if the Instagram was hacked or not; all I know is that the person or people controlling the Instagram did things that are crimes in Canada and in California, and we will see what happens with that.”
Lil Tay, whose real name is Claire Hope, was court-ordered to live with her father in June 2018, after months of “flexing” videos and wild behavior. “When my daughter’s social media began to go viral this year, I disagreed with most of the social media activity. I took legal steps to stop things which I felt were dangerous to her physical and mental health and to her future,” Chris explained. “I do not think a 10 year old girl should be put in those situations and made to drop out of school so that she can make money for other people.” When Tay’s “flexing” videos of her holding wads of cash and sitting in expensive cars went viral, her mother, Angela Tian, was reportedly fired from her real estate firm after it was revealed that she was involved in the making of those clips. “Everyone else involved in this situation is motivated by money and the possibility of making money off of my daughter. I am not fighting about money; I am fighting for my daughter – for her happiness and her future,” Chris revealed.
“My daughter wants to pursue acting and singing, and I support her 100% in following her dreams. I think she was given bad advice about many things earlier this year, and she was steered in the wrong direction by various people,” he continued. We’ve heard exclusively that Lil Tay will return to the spotlight soon, with a rebranded image that is approved by her father, who removed her from the downward spiral she was headed towards earlier this year after she was deemed an “instabrat” and “fake ghetto toddler.” She has been in the studio working on new music, and we hear that some new tracks will be released by the end of the year. “I hope my daughter is able to follow a path that will make her happy, keep her safe, and allow her to grow up into the amazing person I know she is,” Chris concluded.
HollywoodLife.com attempted to reach Angela Tian and her representatives for comment on this story, but they couldn’t be reached.