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Former ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ star Kailia Posey dead at 16

The teen appeared on "Toddlers & Tiaras" in 2011 and starred in the 2019 film "Eli."
Kailia Posey.
Kailia Posey.Marcy Posey Gatterman / via Facebook

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

Former “Toddlers & Tiaras” star Kailia Posey has died at 16. 

Her mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, shared a photo of her daughter on Facebook and shared the devastating news.

“I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone,” she wrote in the caption. “Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”

She did not share the cause of her daughter’s death. NBC News has reached out to Posey Gatterman for comment and has not heard back. 

On Wednesday, Whatcom County Medical Examiner told Seattle NBC affiliate KING that Posey had died by suicide at Birch Bay State Park, which is about 100 miles north of Seattle near the Canadian border.

Posey's family issued an emotional statement about their daughter's death on Tuesday and confirmed that she had died by suicide.

"She was just 16 years old but had accomplished so much and had such a bright future in front of her," the statement said. "Her family and friends are devastated ... 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."

"We are completely shattered as a family and left with more questions than answers," the statement continued.

Posey competed in multiple episodes of “Toddlers & Tiaras” in 2011. The original version of the TLC reality series, which aired from 2009 to 2013 and inspired multiple spinoffs, followed children and their families as they competed in child beauty pageants.

Posey was also known for an online meme that arose from her time on “Toddlers & Tiaras,” when she grinned enthusiastically during an interview.

Kailia Posey in "Toddlers & Tiaras."
Kailia Posey in "Toddlers & Tiaras."TLC

Later, she also appeared in the 2019 horror film “Eli.” In the statement, her family noted that Posey had won "countless crowns & trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life," including recently being named the "2nd Runner-Up Miss Teen Washington." Posey was listed as a contestant on the pageant's website.

The family statement also noted that Posey had a "highly acclaimed talent as a contortionist" and had "recently been selected to be a cheerleader" at her high school in the upcoming school year. The statement described Posey as a "longtime aviation enthusiast" who aimed to "continue in the entertainment industry while pursing (a) commercial pilot license."

Tributes have been pouring in for Posey. Teen magician Kadan Bart Rockett, who was a competitor on “America’s Got Talent,” shared a moving Instagram tribute to his “forever friend.”

“You knew her from the TV show Toddlers & Tiaras, the Netflix movie, ELI, her viral video & GIF, as an incredible contortionist as well as Pageant Queen but to me, she was Kailia; my first ‘girlfriend’, my first magicians assistant & my forever friend,” he wrote in the caption. “Her smile lit up every room she entered & her sweet spirit will live on forever in our hearts.”

The family has also established a charitable fund in Posey's honor. The Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund will "help get much needed resources to students in crisis," according to the fundraiser's site.

"Our hope is that she will be remembered for her sweet spirit and the way she touched so many lives in a positive way," said the family statement. "It is our desire that her departure from this Earth will not be in vain and that other lives can be saved."

TLC did not respond to TODAY's request for comment.

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