TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras star Kailia Posey has passed away at the age of 16.
“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,” Steve Gatterman, her stepfather, wrote a lengthy message from the family on Facebook.
According to TMZ, the family is devastated by her death, listing Posey’s accomplishments and goals.
“She won countless crowns & trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life,” the Facebook post read. “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.”
Additionally, Posey’s family spoke about her love for aviation and planned to pursue a commercial pilot’s license while working in the entertainment industry.
Kailia Posey, the little girl who was on Toddlers and Tiara’s and who’s adorable expression in an interview became a popular gif, has died at age 16. pic.twitter.com/xrW38zaTG9— Kate 👩🏼⚕️ (@Kate_Retired) May 4, 2022
Her mother, Marcy Posey-Gatterman, originally announced her daughter’s passing on her Facebook page on Monday.
The grief-stricken mother shared the tragic news, noting that she didn’t have words or thoughts and asked for privacy during this trying time.
“I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone,” Posey-Gatterman said. “Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”
The post has accumulated over 6K likes, almost 700 comments of condolences and well wishes for the family.
A former child pageant star, Posey was most known for her role on TLC’s reality series Toddlers and Tiaras from 2009 to 2013. She appeared on a 2012 episode when she was only five years old.
Her face became recognizable across the internet in a popular GIF. Her grinning widely and looking to the side went viral and became a popular reaction image.
Posey was a student at Lynden High School, where she was on the Dean’s List for the 2021-2022 school year.
According to Facebook posts from her mother, she recently attended prom and learned in April that she had made the Lynden High Football Cheer team.
At the Whatcom Community Foundation, Posey’s family has established the “Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund” fund.
On the fund’s website, donations will “provide much-needed resources to students in crisis.”
The fund description thanks donors for honoring Kailia’s short, beautiful life by helping others and includes an image of Posey modified to include a halo and wings.
“Your gift to the Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund will help get much-needed resources to students in crisis,” the website read. “Thank you for honoring Kailia’s short, beautiful life by helping other young people.”
Help is available if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide. Reach out to family, friends and/or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.