Published Dec 30, 2019Following the tragic death of Juno-nominated singer Kelly Fraser on Christmas Eve, her family has spoken out, revealing she died of suicide.
In a statement issued to the Canadian Press, the family of the 26-year-old Inuk singer-songwriter explained she battled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Kelly suffered from PTSD for many years as a result of childhood traumas, racism and persistent cyber-bullying," Fraser's family said. "She was actively seeking help and spoke openly about her personal challenges online and through her journey."
Fraser "gave so much of herself to help others," her family added. "She was fiercely open with her fans in the hopes that sharing her struggles might help them know they were not alone. Kelly fought so hard to be well. We know that she would want us all to continue to do our very best to take care of ourselves. Please respect our privacy at this time as no further details about the circumstances of her death will be provided."
Memorials are planned for Fraser in both Winnipeg and Iqaluit. The details of those have yet to be revealed, however.
As previously reported, GoFundMe campaign has been created on behalf of Fraser's sisters to help support the family.
Fraser was born in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, and began playing guitar at age 11 before forming the band Kelly Fraser and the Easy Four at age 15. At 19, Fraser achieved viral fame after translating and covering Rihanna's song "Diamonds" in Inuktitut. The cover, shared to YouTube in early 2013, has since been viewed over 380,000 times.
Fraser released her debut album Isuma in 2014 and delivered her sophomore follow-up Sedna in 2017. Sedna received a nomination for Indigenous Music Album of the Year at the 2018 Juno Awards and was also nominated for Best Pop Album at the 2018 Indigenous Music Awards.
She had launched a crowdfunding campaign for a third album, Decolonize, in November.
Fraser's family are encouraging anyone struggling in the North to contact the Kamatsiaqtut Helpline, which provides 24-hour anonymous and confidential telephone counselling about personal problems or crisis, at (867) 979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333, or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or by texting "TALK" to 686868.