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Kailia Posey, ‘grinning girl’ in popular GIF, dead by suicide at 16

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Kailia Posey on "Toddlers & Tiaras" in 2012 (Credit: TLC)

Kailia Posey, whose appearance on a reality TV show at the age of five made her one of the most recognizable faces on the internet, died by suicide at a park in Washington state, her family says. She was 16 years old.

Kailia’s body was found on early Monday afternoon at Birch Bay State Park in Washington state, just a few miles from the Canadian border. The exact cause of her death was not immediately released, but her family confirmed on late Tuesday that she 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,” her family said, according to TMZ.

Her mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, wrote in a post on Facebook: “I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”

Kailia appeared on the TLC show “Toddlers & Tiaras” in 2012, when she was just 5 years old. A scene from one of the episodes – in which she grins – became one of the most popular GIFs on the internet. It remains popular and is still frequently used.

“Toddlers & Tiaras” was a controversial TV show which followed the world of child beauty pageants. Most recently, Kailia took part in the Miss Teen USA pageant in Washington state, where she finished as the second runner-up.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis related to suicide, mental health or substance use, dial or text the U.S. Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 to speak with a counselor in your area. If you’re in the UK, call the Samaritans at 116123.

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