- Kailia Posey’s family told TMZ that the 16-year-old died by suicide.
- Posey’s mother announced on Monday that the former “Toddlers and Tiaras” star had died.
- Posey was best known for her appearance on the show, including an image of her grinning widely.
Former “Toddlers and Tiaras” star Kailia Posey died by suicide, her family said in a statement to TMZ on Tuesday.
Posey’s mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, announced that her daughter had died in a Facebook post on Monday. At the time, the family did not disclose the cause of Posey’s death, asking for privacy. The next day, Posey’s family told TMZ that the teenager had died by suicide.
“Although she was an accomplished teenager with a bright future ahead of her, unfortunately in one impetuous moment, she made the rash decision to end her earthly life,” the family said in a statement to TMZ.
“She won countless crowns & trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life,” the statement continued. “Her highly acclaimed talent as a contortionist had already led to professional touring job offers, and she had recently been selected to be a cheerleader at her high school next fall.”
Posey was best known for her appearance on the TLC reality series “Toddlers and Tiaras,” which ran from 2009 to 2013 and followed child pageant stars and their families. Posey appeared on a 2012 episode titled “California Tropic Arizona,” and was five years old at the time.
In the decade since the episode aired, Posey’s face became recognizable across the internet: a GIF and image of her grinning widely and looking to the side went viral, and became a popular reaction image online.
According to Posey’s bio on the Miss Washington Teen USA pageant website – she was competing, representing the city of Lynden – she was a student at Lynden High School, where she was named to the Dean’s List for the 2021-2022 school year. According to Facebook posts from her mother, Posey recently attended the prom, and learned in April that she had been named to the Lynden High Football Cheer team.
TMZ reported that Posey’s family has established a fund, called the “Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund,” at the Whatcom Community Foundation. According to the website where the fund is listed, donations will be used to “get much needed resources to students in crisis.” The fund description thanks those donating for “honoring Kailia’s short, beautiful life by helping other people,” and features an image of Posey edited to include a halo and wings.
“I don’t have words or any thoughts,” Gatterman, Posey’s mother, wrote in the Facebook post announcing her death on Monday. “A beautiful baby girl is gone. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”
Posey’s mother and stepfather did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.