More details surrounding Kailia Posey’s death have been released.
In a statement shared to TMZ on May 3, the family of the former “Toddlers & Tiaras” star confirmed she died by suicide. She was 16 years old.
“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’s statement read. “She won countless crowns &trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life … 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.”
News of Posey’s death was first confirmed by her mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, on May 2 in a Facebook post. Alongside a photo of the teen in a glittery gold gown, the matriarch wrote, “I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone.”
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Asking fans for privacy as the family mourned the loss, Gatterman added, “My baby forever.”
Posey, who was trained by her mother to be a contortionist, was 5 years old when she appeared on a 2012 episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras” that documented the California Tropic Arizona pageant. She rose to fame after a grinning face she made during an interview on the TLC reality series became a viral meme online.
Gatterman previously said on the show that her daughter started competing in pageants at the age of 3. Describing Posey as a combination of a “cuddly puppy you just want to pet and a spicy monkey,” Gatterman raved of her child, “She’s a pro when she hits that stage, she’ll say she’s nervous but once she hits that stage, she’s a pro. She’s gonna beat you, every time.”
“Kailia has a very good talent,” she continued. “I don’t know anybody that’s competition for Kailia.”
The series ended in 2013 after seven seasons, but Posey continued to compete in pageants. In February, she was named second runner-up in the Miss Washington Teen USA pageant and celebrated the momentous occasion with an Instagram post captioned, “One word. Thankful.”
According to Gatterman, Posey made her high school’s football cheer team in late April.
“The girl went out of her comfort zone and worked so hard in tumbling,” Gatterman wrote in an April 27 Facebook post. “I am so proud of her and all the guys and gals that made it.”
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.