Inuk singer Kelly Fraser was ‘fiercely open with her fans,’ family says | CBC News
Kelly Fraser, the beloved Inuk singer-songwriter from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, was an “incredibly kind person” and “fiercely open with her fans” in the hope sharing her struggles would help them know they’re not alone, her family said in a statement Monday morning.
Fraser, 26, died by suicide Christmas Eve in Winnipeg, where she had been living, her family confirmed.
“Kelly suffered from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] for many years as a result of childhood traumas, racism and persistent cyberbullying,” reads the written statement from Fraser’s mother and six siblings. “She was actively seeking help and spoke openly about her personal challenges online and through her journey.”
Fraser had been playing music since age 11 and gained fame in 2013, when her Inuktitut rendition of Rihanna’s song Diamonds went viral. Her second album, Sedna, was nominated for a Juno award in 2018, and in 2019, Fraser won an Indspire Award, which honours the outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
Beyond music, the Juno-nominated musician used her celebrity platform to promote Inuit rights and speak out against the harms of colonization and stereotyping.
Fraser “gave so much of herself to help others,” said her family.
“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,” reads the Monday statement. “We are still in complete shock and our hearts bleed for our sister. Let us celebrate Kelly’s generosity, honesty, passion and love of life.”
The family said it wouldn’t speak further about the circumstances surrounding Fraser’s death and has asked for privacy. Memorials will be held in Winnipeg and Iqaluit.
Where to get help
If you’re worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them about it, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.