The 13-year-old YouTuber’s sudden death has resulted in much speculation – yet much more evidence that net detectivism rarely ends well


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YouTube star Caleb Bratayley, that has died aged 13 the a sudden medical condition. Photograph: YouTube screengrab
YouTube star Caleb Bratayley, who has died aged 13 that a sudden medical condition. Photograph: YouTube screengrab

Caleb Logan Bratayley – real name Caleb LeBlanc – was the eldest son of the Bratayley family, based in Maryland: a dad, mum, and three youngsters vlogging (video blogging) because 2011.

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The family members is a kind of digital middle-class version of the Kardashians, and has modelled its success on one more YouTube family, the Shaytards.

The Bratayleys’s eponymous YouTube channel, which has much more than 1.7 million subscribers, is composed of mainly quotidian, middle-American life: baseball games, baking, trampolining. Video titles include: “Just Hangin’ roughly the House” and also “Sick ~ above a Plane”.

The children are cookie-cutter cute and father, Billy, is a armed forces man. Their most watched video has racked up almost 23 million views and their pan base spreads throughout multiple platforms: Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Age-wise, it’s mainly made up, as one can imagine, of kids the same ages as Annie, Caleb and also their various other sibling, 7-year-old, Hayley.

On Friday 2 October, 2 days ~ Hayley’s birthday was mutual via facebook (“#stillcelebrating”), an Instagram article which has due to the fact that garnered 236,000 likes announced Caleb’s sudden and also tragic death.

The short article said Caleb had passed away from natural reasons the vault evening. “This has come as a shock to all of us. Words cannot define how much we will miss out on him,” the read, alongside a picture of the youngster and also his sister.


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The article that showed up on screen during Caleb’s final video clip appearance. Photograph: YouTubeCaleb’s fatality comes in ~ a tragically young age and also many pan reacted by expressing their sympathies because that the family and also shared their very own grief in ~ his passing. Yet while younger acolytes concentrated on heartfelt tribute vines and also emoji-laden comments, some observers began to question just how a kid might die “overnight”.

Online, people began to speak of the “suspicious” main reason provided by the police the a “sudden medical condition”. Countless of them not Bratayleys fans, however armchair eyebrow raisers – attractive to what that saw as a mystery to it is in solved.

Under pressure from an net cacophony and also “numerous inquiries both nationally and also locally”, and after Gawker ran a item on LeBlanc’s “mysterious” death, the ann Arundel police department exit a declare clarifying the no criminal investigation was taking place into the youngster’s death as there were no “suspicious components or suspected foul play”.



YouTube comments featuring one outpouring of grief for Caleb after ~ his death. Photograph: YouTube screengrabIndeed, to most, the suddenness of Caleb’s death would show up to give more credence to this main reason, rather than less. It’s challenging to advanced objections come a cause of death that is a suddenly medical condition by saying that it occurred so quickly. But the concerns kept coming.

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Understandably, Bratayley’s mother, Katie, who largely only participates in the household videos together a narrator, asked for privacy and respect during the “grieving process”.

When she announced on society media the her son’s memorial organization would it is in live-streamed top top Periscope and also Facebook, and also announcing a 21 minute tribute video clip to Caleb after ~ his death, the was seized on together a contradiction through requesting privacy.


Due to an outpouring of support & expect to be component of Caleb's memorial, we room live-streaming the ceremony now
8pm pic.twitter.com/mwrebMv7cN

— Bratayley Bratayley (
Bratayley) October 6, 2015

Since Caleb’s memorial, his parental have appeared on the alphabet show good Morning America, again come further explain his cause of death. They stated heart difficulties that had run in the family, and that Caleb likely passed away of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is no such a rare problem – in the UK, 1 in 500 human being have it, and it frequently goes undetected.


Bratayley I have an alarm set, i can't wait to clock it.