Boy, 11, died after TikTok craze went wrong at home in Lancaster, says family

The family of an 11-year-old boy who died suddenly said it was related to a TikTok challenge.

Tommie-lee Gracie Billington died on Saturday after he was discovered unconscious at a friend’s house in Greenset Close, Lancaster.

His grandmother has since spoken out, blaming the devastating loss on a new dangerous online challenge called “chroming”.

The death, which happened on Saturday,  is being treated as “unexplained” and is still being investigated, Lancashire Constabulary said.

Tommie-lee Gracie Billington, 11, was found unconscious at a friend’s house in Lancaster on Saturday (Facebook)
Tommie-lee Gracie Billington, 11, was found unconscious at a friend’s house in Lancaster on Saturday (Facebook)

In an emotional plea, Tina Burns, a reaching assistant from Clayton-le-woods told local paper The Lancashire Post: “We need the cause, the reason to get out there in the media of what killed my grandson.

“He died instantly after a sleepover at a friend’s house. The boys had tried the TikTok craze ‘chroming’.

“Tommie-lee went into cardiac arrest immediately and died right there and then. The hospital did everything to try and bring him back but nothing worked. He was gone.”

“Chroming” is the act of inhaling a toxic chemical such as paint, solvent, aerosol cans, glue, cleaning products, or petrol for a short-term high.

The dangerous act can be extremely dangerous and lead to heart attacks or suffocation and permanent liver, brain and kidney damage.

Ms Burns shared on Facebook: “Never felt pain like this. I just love you so much mate. My baby boy, you will forever be in my heart. I will make sure to the best of my ability that your name and your beautiful face will become the reason that other children’s lives will be saved and other families don’t have to suffer this deep, deep hurt.”

Now, both sides of Tommie-lee’s family are campaigning for more stringent online safety measures, including forbidding under 16s from accessing TikTok, Ms Burns told the publication.

In a heartbreaking tribute, the boy has been described by his grieving family members as a “bright energetic boy” with a “heart of gold”, and the family said they had been left “utterly devastated”.

The coroner has been informed and a report into the cause of death will be prepared.

A police spokesperson said: “An investigation is ongoing and the boy’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. Our thoughts are with the boy’s loved ones at this incredibly sad time.”

A spokesperson for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We attended an incident at a private address on Greenset Close, Lancaster, following a 999 call at 12.02.

“Two ambulances, an air ambulance and an operational commander attended. A patient was taken to hospital.”

Parents have recently spoken out to The Independent about dangerous online challenges. TikTok previously said the platform “does not allow dangerous challenges, and we proactively find 99 per cent of content removed for breaking these rules”.