Canadian pre-teen internet rapper Clea Hope, famously known by the name Lil Tay, has passed away, as confirmed in a statement by their management.
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The family of Hope made an announcement on Lil Tay’s Instagram page, where they have 3.3 million followers. They shared, “With heavy hearts, we are sharing the devastating news of the sudden and tragic passing of our beloved Clea.” “We are at a loss for words to express our immeasurable grief and indescribable pain. This outcome was entirely unexpected and has shaken us all to our core. The loss of their brother compounds our grief and deepens the unimaginable void that will be felt by all those who knew and loved them.”
“During this period of deep sadness, we kindly request solitude as we grieve over this substantial departure, as the details encompassing Clea and her sibling’s transition are presently under thorough examination. Clea will always remain in our hearts, and their absence will leave an unfathomable void that will be felt by all those who knew and loved them.”
Lil Tay’s last Instagram post was in June 2018.
Lil Tay gained viral fame as a 9-year-old social media influencer. Self-proclaimed “Youngest Flexer of the Century,” they were known for Instagram videos filled with explicit language showcasing a lavish hip-hop lifestyle. In one video, they claimed to have bought a $200,000 sports car despite not having a driver’s license. In another, set against the backdrop of Beverly Hills scenes, they declared, “I run L.A.” Lil Tay was associated with popular rappers like Chief Keef and XXXTentacion, whom they referred to as “dad-like” in their 2018 Instagram posts. They faced criticism for their use of the n-word and later apologized to those they had offended. In 2018, they appeared in a three-episode documentary titled “Life with Lil Tay” to gain further notoriety.
Five years ago, after disappearing from the internet, Lil Tay was drawn into a legal battle between their parents, as allegations of their family situation and safety concerns emerged online. In June 2018, Lil Tay’s Instagram was cleared, and posts with the words “Help Me” were shared.
A few months later, an alleged Instagram hack resulted in a series of posts accusing Lil Tay’s father, Christopher Hope, of misconduct. The accusations claimed that Hope had ordered Lil Tay to be sent back to Canada to profit from their earnings. At the time, Lil Tay’s manager, Harry Tsang, stated that the allegations were unfounded, citing an interview with The Daily Beast in 2018.
In a phone interview with his mother, Angela Tian, conducted during an alleged Instagram hack, Lil Tay said, “I’m in a bad situation right now and I don’t want to Discussing these matters is imperative,” he conveyed, noting that his father had breached legal boundaries, resulting in a court mandate for our return to this location due to concerns about my safety and the preservation of assets.
He addressed the topic of Hope, recounting, ‘There were threats of arrest – unless we complied and returned, my mother faced the risk of detainment… It had been numerous years since I had laid eyes on him. He hadn’t seen me for so long, it’s clear he only came back for money.”