How many times have you read news on Twitter or Facebook that you’d later find out were false? With millions of people on Twitter and Facebook posting up millions of updates on a daily basis, it can be quite frustrating to try to differentiate genuine news from hoaxes. Celebrities, especially, are usually not spared. Many of them, who were thought to have been “touched” by the Grim Reaper aka thought to be dead, were in fact very much alive and kicking.
Here are some of the top 6 celebrity death hoaxes:
A death hoax can be made worse (read: spread more quickly) if even celebrities fail to tell fake from real. Kim Kardashian caused major confusion one fine day in 2012 when she tweeted to her tens of millions of Twitter followers:
Of course it wasn’t true and the Internet wasted no time in chastising her for tweeting without first fact checking. One Twitter follower apparently said to her, “Of course not, Cher will outlive you”. An hour later hour, Kim corrected her error by tweeting, “Can’t believe people would make up a sick joke like Cher died. These people need to get a life! Thanks Twitter for clearing that up”.
In 2011, a Facebook page called “Jackie Chan R.I.P 08/17/2011” went viral as flocks of fans memorialised the action star, who was said to have died from a heart attack. Then, last month, a piece of news which read:
Actor Jackie Chan died while filming a movie in Kitzbühel, Austria early this morning – June 23, 2013 (obviously the fake obit generates up-to-date deaths). Preliminary reports from Austrian Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 50 feet to his death in a remote area of the Hahnenkamm mountains while on-set during the filming of a movie. Specific details are not yet available. The accident occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +12).
..went viral. Of course, the popular martial arts actor wasn’t dead. He was just the latest celebrity to fall victim to the infamous online death hoax. Following the “news”, the “Rush Hour” star took the Facebook (how apt!) to tell his fans that he’s alive and well – with a photo of himself posing with an issue of a 21st June newspaper:
He also wrote on his Facebook wall, “Everybody called me to see if I was alive. If I died, I would probably tell the world! I took a photo with today’s date, just in case you don’t believe me! However, thank you all for your concern.”
At least he had a good sense of humor about it!
Wayne Knight aka “Newman”
In May this year, a story made its rounds on the interwebs, claiming that a “Seinfeld” star had died. Apparently sourced from a fake TMZ website, the car crash on Route 446 in Pennsylvania involved Wayne Knight, his Mercedes, and a tractor-trailer. But just as soon as the “news” was released, Wayne Knight himself took to Twitter to dispel the fake report when he tweeted the following:
Well, duh, if Wayne Knight says he’s alive, he has to be. Right?
Rumors of the actor’s alleged demise gained traction after a “R.I.P. Eddie Murphy” Facebook page attracted nearly one million likes. Those who read the “About” page were given a believable account of the American actor’s passing:
At about 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday (July 01, 2014), our beloved actor Eddie Murphy passed away. Eddie Murphy was born on April 3, 1961 in New York. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.
Hundreds of fans immediately started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the talented 53-year-old actor, comedian, singer and musician was dead. However, on 2nd July, the actor’s reps officially confirmed that Eddie Murphy is not dead. “He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimised by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the Internet,” they said.
Seriously, the only thing that killed Eddie Murphy is the internet.
In 2007, while she was in jail (remember that!), it was widely reported that Paris had died. Then, in 2012, reports surfaced that the heiress was killed in a violent car crash. This site stated:
Paris Hilton, born on February 17, 1981 in New York, was an American heir. She died on September 15, 2012, at the age of 31. Friends and family are mourning the loss of a loved one.
While another reported:
Paris Hilton died in a single vehicle crash on Route 80 between Morristown and Roswell. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics responding to the vehicle accident and was identified by photo ID found on his body. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have been a factor in this accident.
Um, but Paris Hilton isn’t a “he”?
Call this one out immediately!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Perhaps the most popular “death” that we’ve seen repeatedly in our Facebook newsfeed is none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s. In June, it was reported that he died due to a dangerous stunt gone awry during the production of his upcoming film “Fast & Furious 7”. Again, satirical website Global Associated News (the same site that reported Paris Hilton’s so-called death) wrote that the famous the famous wrestler and actor had a fatal fall from Kauri Cliff in New Zealand:
Actor Dwayne Johnson died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – June 10, 2014. Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.
After which, a similar video entitled, “Rest In Peace Dwayne Johnson 1972-2014”..
..quickly went viral and sparked concerns among social media users and fans of The Rock.
Sure, 42-year-old Dwayne Johnson was really on site filming, “Fast & Furious 7” but he sure as heck didn’t die because on the same day, he tweeted:
And he’s still very actively tweeting until this very day.
Other notable “celebrity death” mentions are such as:
- Jon Bon Jovi
- Lady Gaga
- Russell Crowe
- Lil Wayne
- Will Ferrell
- Adam Sandler
- Justin Bieber
- Morgan Freeman
- Chris Brown
So kids, don’t believe everything that you read on the internet!