News

Is Child Rapper Lil Tay Dead? Here's the Instagram Post that Started the Rumor

The post said the circumstances surrounding the teenager's death were under investigation.

Published Aug 9, 2023

Updated Aug 10, 2023
 (@liltay/Instagram)
Image Via @liltay/Instagram

Editor's note: In the hours after Lil Tay's death was announced via her Instagram account, reports surfaced citing statements by her father and former manager that called into question the legitimacy of the announcement. See here for the latest information surrounding the rumor.

On Aug. 9, 2023, reports surfaced claiming that Lil Tay, a controversial child rapper, had died. The rumor stemmed from the below-displayed Instagram post on the teenager's official account.

According to the Instagram post, the circumstances surrounding her death — as well as her brother's, who also recently died per the Instagram post — were still under investigation.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Lil Tay (@liltay)

The post said:

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. Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.

Multiple news outlets published full obituaries detailing Hope's life, including Deadline, TimeVariety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

However, after those initial reports published, her father and ex-manager told Insider they could not confirm the legitimacy of the death announcement. Insider reported:

When reached for comment, Lil Tay's father, Christopher Hope, told Insider he could not comment on the Instagram post and declined to answer whether his daughter was still alive. 

Similarly, Harry Tsang, the star's former manager told Insider the situation called for 'cautious consideration' and he could not confirm or deny the news currently.

'Given the complexities of the current circumstances, I am at a point where I cannot definitively confirm or dismiss the legitimacy of the statement issued by the family," Tsang told Insider in an emailed statement Wednesday. 'This situation calls for cautious consideration and respect for the sensitivities involved. My commitment remains focused on delivering updates that are both reliable and appropriately timed.'

Soon after reports of Hope's death started circulating on social media, Snopes readers flooded our website to determine whether they were real or a hoax.

Readers often turn to Snopes when they hear about a celebrity death to see if it's real. False death announcements are a common form of internet junk news designed to convince gullible readers to go for clickbait or fall for phishing scams. Here's a deeper look into the misinformation trend, and here's a running list of celebrities that have been targets of it.

Sources

Death Hoax Archives | Snopes.Com. https://www.snopes.com/tag/death-hoax/. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Why Are Online Death Hoaxes so Popular?" Snopes, 22 Sept. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/09/22/online-death-hoaxes-popular/.

Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CvuphvirkOz/. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.

Lee, Jessica. "These Celebrities Have Been Targets of Online Death Hoaxes." Snopes, 7 Dec. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/collections/celebrity-death-hoaxes-online/.

Tinoco, Armando. "Lil Tay Dies: Child Rapper & Viral Social Media Personality Was 14." Deadline, 9 Aug. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/08/lil-tay-dead-child-rapper-viral-social-media-personality-1235458663/.

White, Abbey. "Lil Tay, Teen Rapper and Social Influencer, Dies at 14." The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Aug. 2023, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/lil-tay-dead-rapper-influencer-1235559981/.

'After Reports of Lil Tay's Death, Father, Ex-Manager Won't Confirm Teen Influencer Died'. Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2023-08-09/lil-tay-dead-family-announces-sudden-tragic-passing.

Lee, Geoff Weiss, Haven Orecchio-Egresitz, Erin Snodgrass, Lloyd. 'Lil Tay Dead at 15, Rapper's Instagram States, but Her Father Couldn't Say If It Was True'. Insider, https://www.insider.com/lil-tay-dead-child-rapper-influencer-claire-hope-instagram-2023-8. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Updates

Aug. 10, 2023: This post was updated to include reports that called to question the legitimacy of the Instagram post announcing Lil Tay's death.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.