Lil Tay death hoax: Social media hack to blame

Calum Patterson

Viral social media sensation Lil Tay, real name Claire Hope, confirmed that she is not dead after an Instagram post claimed she’d died at age 14.

Lil Tay rose to fame in 2018, with a series of viral videos where she played a character of a young rich girl, often seen flexing money and expensive vehicles.

After her sharp rise to online popularity, Lil Tay stopped posting online and became a more private person.

On Wednesday, August 9, Lil Tay’s family posted on her Instagram account, announcing she had passed away “suddenly.”

“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.”

The statement also adds that her brother died, although the circumstances are unclear, and an investigation is underway.

“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 of 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,” the family concludes.

Lil Tay’s father & former manager reached for comment

Lil Tay’s management has confirmed her passing in a statement to Variety.

Hours after Lil Tay’s family broke the tragic news on Instagram, her father Christopher Hope allegedly refused to provide comment when approached by The Sun. Hope also declined to clarify whether Tay was living with him at the time of her reported death.

Lil Tay’s former manager Harry Tsang later released a statement claiming he could not verify the news first reported on Instagram.

“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. I encourage everyone to rely on reputable and official sources for information.”

Lil Tay says death reports were due to a hack

One day after Tay was reported dead, TMZ confirmed that the social media star was, in fact, alive. Lil Tay spoke to TMZ to stop the spread of misinformation due to a hack of her social media accounts.

In a statement to TMZ, Lil Tay said “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. 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.”

Who is Lil Tay?

Lil Tay went viral across social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube in 2018. Her videos often included displays of extreme wealth, such as stacks of cash, expensive jewelry and luxury vehicles.

While calling herself the “youngest flexer of the century”, there were concerns at the time about her age and if she was allowed to be on the platforms, with 13 years old the minimum age on most.

Lil Tay’s age has often been subject to speculation, but in early 2018 she said she was 9 years old, placing her at 14 years old at the time of her death.

She also engaged in a public feud with Danielle Bregholi, a.k.a Bhad Bhabie, also known as the ‘cash me outside’ girl of Dr. Phil fame, further promoting her profile.

Historical abuse allegations

In 2021, Lil Tay’s sibling set up a ‘GoFundMe’, alleging that their father was attempting to take control of their money and custody.

GoFundMe Lil Tay statement
In 2021, Tay’s sibling, Jason Tian, claimed that Tay’s father used her money to live a lavish lifestyle.

The post also claimed that Tay’s father and stepmother are “physically and mentally abusive” toward her, and “as a result of the situation, Tay has fallen into a state of depression.”

In April 2021, Lil Tay’s siblings posted images of her online with markings on her body and face, alleging physical abuse. However, no further updates were publicly made about this situation in the years since.

About The Author

Calum is Dexerto's Managing Editor, based in Scotland. Joining Dexerto in 2017, Calum has years of experience covering esports, gaming and online entertainment, and now leads the team to deliver the best coverage in these areas. An expert on all things Twitch and gaming influencers, he's also an expert in popular shooters like Apex Legends, CS2 and Call of Duty. You can contact Calum at