The teen rapper found herself at the center of a death hoax this week when a statement posted to her Instagram account Aug. 9 claimed that she and her older brother Jason had passed away.
"It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire's sudden and tragic passing," the since-deleted post read. "We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain. This outcome was entirely unexpected, and has left us all in shock."
However, Lil Tay is very much not dead—and set the record straight in a separate family statement. "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," read a statement obtained by TMZ Aug. 10. "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."
Lil Tay went on to explain that she had been a victim of hacking and that her Instagram account "was compromised by a 3rd party and used to spread jarring misinformation," including her real name.
"My legal name is Tay Tian," she added, "not 'Claire Hope.'"
So, what's the truth? Read on for everything you need to know about Lil Tay.
Who is Lil Tay?
Lil Tay is a rapper who rose to fame in April 2018, when she appeared in a viral video of a scuffle between meme stars Woah Vicky and Bhad Bhabie. Other social media clips made by Lil Tay—which often included her using expletives while posing with stacks of cash and sports cars—soon gained popularity as well, leading her to have a cameo in a Chief Keef music video.
How old is Lil Tay?
While Lil Tay said she was 9 when she appeared in the viral fight video with Woah Vicky and Bhad Bhabie, a profile of the young star published by The Cut in 2018 listed her birthday as July 29, 2007.
Her former manager Harry Tsang confirmed to E! News that she is 16 as of Aug. 10.
Who are Lil Tay's parents?
Lil Tay's parents are Angela Tian and Christopher Hope. Per The Cut, the two were never married and broke up before her second birthday.
Does Lil Tay have any siblings?
She has an older half-brother named Jason Tian, who performed as Rycie in amateur rap videos on YouTube prior to Lil Tay finding fame. According to The Cut, Jason managed many aspects of Lil Tay's career, including writing the scripts to her videos and fielding interview requests.
Where is Lil Tay from?
Lil Tay hails from Vancouver, Canada. In a May 2018 interview with Good Morning America, Lil Tay and her mom said they had just moved from the Great White North to Los Angeles.
Is Lil Tay fake?
Speculation that Lil Tay's larger-than-life persona was all an act started swirling when a video of Jason telling her what to say on camera surfaced in May 2018. However, Lil Tay denied claims that she was coached, telling GMA, "It's all me."
"No one is forcing me to do this," she added at the time. "My mom doesn't run social media. I use my own Instagram."
Is Lil Tay dead?
No, Lil Tay is not dead. Despite a statement posted to her Instagram Aug. 9 saying so, she told TMZ through a separate family statement the following day, "I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive."
What is the Lil Tay death hoax?
After the singer's Instagram account shared that she died, her management also confirmed her death to Variety Aug. 9.
Yet, her dad Christopher and her former manager Harry told Insider they could not confirm or deny the news.
"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," Harry said in a statement. "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."
Then, on Aug. 10, Tay issued a message through her family to TMZ saying she was alive.