Lil Tay’s age was part of the reason she blew up on social media in 2018. She became a viral sensation not just for her foul mouth and wads of cash but for the fact that the words and actions were coming from someone so young.

In one social media post, she declared: “This is a message to all y’all broke-ass haters, y’all ain’t doing it like Lil Tay,” jumping into a red Mercedes, with hands full of cash. “This is why all y’all fucking haters hate me, bitch. This shit cost me $200,000. I’m only 9 years old. I don’t got no license, but I still drive this sports car, bitch. Your favorite rapper ain’t even doing it like Lil Tay.”

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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

Lil Tay, whose real name is Claire Hope, amassed millions of fans; she once reported growth from 250,000 followers to over 1.2 million on Instagram in a little over a week. But as The Atlantic noted, it didn’t take long for cracks to show. Her mother, Angela Tian, was a real estate agent in Vancouver and the luxurious homes that Lil Tay portrayed as her own were just her mom’s listings. Tian was eventually forced to resign when her boss found out she and Lil Tay had used his car without permission.

In 2018, footage was obtained by Drama Alert showing Lil Tay’s 16-year-old brother Jason coaching her and yelling when she didn’t say things correctly: “No, no, no. Redo,” he was heard saying in the clip.  “If you really want to know who’s in charge, it’s the brother,” an anonymous source told The Atlantic. “The mother has lost control of the son and he is the head of the household.”

Lil Tay’s age

Her social media channels went quiet for five years, but Lil Tay’s age is estimated to be 14, given she was stated as being 10 in a profile featured in The Cut from 2019. It makes her sudden death all the more shocking.  

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire’s sudden and tragic passing,” a statement shared by her family on Instagram began. “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.” The statement concluded: “Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”

In 2019, Lil Tay’s social media accounts became inactive after a custody battle between Hope’s mother Angela Tian and father Chris Hope. “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 Hope said in a statement Hollywood Life. “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.”

“When my daughter’s social media began to go viral this year, I disagreed with most of the social media activity, the statement continued. “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.” 

“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 percent 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. 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.”

Her last post was shared sometime in 2020. It was a tribute post to rapper XXXTentacion. “X you truly changed me ❤️ you were there for me when everyone wanted me to fail, you were there to give me advice, you were there,” she captioned. “As a father figure, when I don’t have one, you were here, FaceTiming me and calling me for hours when I’m down, 3 hours ago you announced the Charity event we were going to throw, we had everything setup, I can’t believe this, the evil in the world, This isn’t good Bye. I Love you Bro ❤️💔😔😢❤️”