Death hoax

A death hoax is a deliberate or confused report of someone's death that turns out to be incorrect[1][2][3] and murder rumors.[3] In some cases it might be because the person has intentionally faked death.


In the 21st century death hoaxes about celebrities have been widely perpetuated via the Internet. However they are not a new phenomenon; in 1945 following the death of Franklin Roosevelt there were hoax reports of the deaths of Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra, among other celebrities of the time.[1][5] Possibly the most famous hoax of this type was the "Paul (McCartney) is dead" rumour of the late 1960s.

Hoaxes about the death of a celebrity increase in frequency when genuine celebrity deaths occur. which closely coincided with the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays and Patrick Swayze, hoax reports emerged concerning the deaths of a number of celebrities.[6] Paul Walker's death in December 2013 sparked rumours of Eddie Murphy dying in a snowboarding accident.[7]

Other cases of celebrity death hoaxes fueled by social media include Bill Murray, Jon Bon Jovi, Gordon Lightfoot, Shahrukh Khan[8] Celine Dion,[9] Jerry Springer,[10] Bill Nye,[11] and William H. Macy.[12]


On 8 January 1992, Headline News almost became the victim of a death hoax. A man called HLN and claimed he was President George H. W. Bush's physician. He claimed Bush died following an incident he had in Tokyo. However, before anchorman Don Harrison was about to report the news, executive producer Roger Bahre, who was off-camera, immediately yelled "No! Stop!"[13] It turned out that a CNN employee entered the information into a centralized computer used by both CNN and Headline News, and it nearly got out on the air before it could be verified. James Edward Smith, an Idaho man, was questioned by the USSS and was later sent to a medical facility for evaluation.[14]

On 18 March 2015, a fake website that reported the death of Lee Kuan Yew, first prime minister of Singapore.[15] Lee was still alive at the time, but died on 23 March 2015. On 8 April 2015 the student who created the fake site was issued a warning by the Attorney-General of Singapore, after "careful consideration of all relevant factors".[16]

Death denial rumors

An opposite phenomenon is death denial rumors: claims that a person is alive, despite official announcements of death (i.e. death certificates, confirmations, etc.).[2] Notable cases are Elvis Presley, Andy Kaufman, Tupac Shakur, David Bowie and XXXTentacion.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Celebrity Death Hoaxes". MSN UK. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  2. ^ a b "Hippo eats dwarf: a field guide to hoaxes and other B.S.", by Alex Boese, 2006, ISBN 0-15-603083-7 , pp. 261, 262
  3. ^ a b "Ordinary reactions to extraordinary events", by Ray Broadus Browne, Arthur G. Neal, 2001, ISBN 0-87972-834-5, chapter "Dead or Alive", pp. 21-42
  4. ^ Frank Marshall White, "Mark Twain Amused," New York Journal, 2 June 1897
  5. ^ "FLOOD OF RUMORS GIVES CITY JITTERS". New York Times. 1945-04-14. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  6. ^ "Celebrity hoaxes continue after Jackson death". Ninemsn Australia. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  7. ^ Selby, Jenn (4 December 2013). "Paul Walker tragedy sparks Eddie Murphy Twitter death hoax". The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Musician Started Bon Jovi Death Hoax". Rolling Stone. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  9. ^ Whiteman, Bobbie (30 October 2013). "Celine Dion makes two appearances in New York following Facebook death hoaxes". Mail Online. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. ^ Considine, Austin (19 September 2012). "One Comeback They Could Skip". New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  11. ^ Mikkelson, David. 24 August 2014. Snopes.
  12. ^ Simpson, Jessica. April 1, 2018. Media Mass.
  13. ^,1544301&dq=cnn+bush+nearly+died&hl=en
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Singapore Police Identify Suspect in False Web Post About Lee Kuan Yew". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Student who posted fake PMO announcement on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death given stern warning". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
Bill Longley (gunfighter)

William Preston Longley (October 6, 1851 – October 11, 1878), also known as Wild Bill Longley, was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter noted for his ruthless nature, speed with a gun, quick temper, and unpredictable demeanor. He is considered to have been one of the deadliest gunfighters in the Old West.

Chris Rathaus

Chris Rathaus (also known as Chris Randall) (March 22, 1943 – May 18, 2006) was an American a radio producer, program director and talk show host of radio programs in the United States. Rathaus passed on the Paul McCartney death hoax, to an associate radio dj, Roby Yonge at WABC in New York City

Dave Benson Phillips

Dave Benson Phillips (born 3 February 1965) is a British entertainer and children's television presenter, best known for his work presenting Playhouse Disney (1998-2006) and The Fun Song Factory (1994-1999). He also presented the popular CBBC game show Get Your Own Back which he now tours with around the UK.

Death messenger

Death messengers, in former times, were those who were dispatched to spread the news that an inhabitant of their city or village had died. They were to wear unadorned black and go door to door with the message, "You are asked to attend the funeral of the departed __________ at (time, date, and place)." This was all they were allowed to say, and were to move on to the next house immediately after uttering the announcement. This tradition persisted in some areas to as late as the mid-19th century.

Death of Michael Jackson

On June 25, 2009, singer Michael Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his home on North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Physician Conrad Murray said that he found Jackson in his room not breathing and with a weak pulse; he administered CPR to no avail, and security called 9-1-1 at 12:21 p.m. Paramedics treated Jackson at the scene but pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.On August 28, 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner concluded that Jackson's death was a homicide. Jackson had reportedly been administered propofol and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines lorazepam and midazolam. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 and served two of his four-year prison sentence for good behavior.Jackson's death triggered reactions around the world, creating unprecedented surges of internet traffic and dramatically boosting sales of his music. He had been preparing for a series of comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena from July 2009 to March 2010. The Michael Jackson memorial service was held on July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where he had rehearsed for the London concerts the night before his death. It was broadcast live around the world, attracting an audience of more than one billion people.

Dignified death

Dignified death is a somewhat elusive concept often related to suicide. One factor that has been cited as a core component of dignified death is maintaining a sense of control. Another view is that a truly dignified death is an extension of a dignified life. There is some concern that assisted suicide does not guarantee a dignified death, since some patients may experience complications such as nausea and vomiting. There is some concern that age discrimination denies the elderly a dignified death.

Frosted tips

Frosted tips refer to a men's hairstyle in which the hair is cut short and formed into short spikes with hair gel or hair spray. The hair is bleached such that the tips of each spike will be pale blond, usually in contrast to the wearer's main hair color.Frosted tips were prominent throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.Notable people who wore frosted tips include Ryan Bell, Nick Reasor, Lance Bass, Steven Bradbury, Aaron Carter, Zac Efron, Guy Fieri, Joe Jonas, Ethan Klein, Mark McGrath, and Justin Timberlake.Other variants, such as inverted or “thawed” tips, where dark highlights are applied to the gelled ends of the person’s hair that is otherwise heavily bleached, also exist.

HLN (TV network)

HLN (Headline News) is an American pay television news channel that is owned by CNN. Originally branded as CNN2, and later CNN Headline News, the channel was originally structured to broadcast a tightly-formatted 30-minute newswheel 24 hours a day, with freshly updated information that briefly covered various areas of interest (such as national news, sports, entertainment, weather and business). Since 2005, however, its format has increasingly shifted to long-form tabloid-, opinion-, crime-, and entertainment news-related programming. In 2014, the network further re-focused with an emphasis on social media, but this practice was dropped by 2016 in favor of focusing more towards traditional news programming, with the remainder of its lineup dedicated to true crime programming, drawing heavily from the library of defunct sister network Court TV, as well as new original programs within the genre.

As of July 2015, HLN is available to approximately 97 million American households (83.4% of households with at least one television set) in the United States making it the most distributed American subscription network. Since the mid-2000s, HLN has been available internationally on pay television providers in parts of Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East, North Africa and in Canada.

Hoff the Record

Hoff the Record is a British television comedy show starring David Hasselhoff, which was screened on Dave in June 2015. It follows a mockumentary fly-on-the-wall format with David Hasselhoff playing a fictionalised version of himself in the autumn of his career, relocating to the UK to seek new opportunities. A second series was commissioned by Dave and began airing on 6 May 2016.

Kanwal Nauman

Kanwal Nauman is a Pakistani actor-turned-politician who was a Member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from May 2013 to May 2018.

Lazarus sign

The Lazarus sign or Lazarus reflex is a reflex movement in brain-dead or brainstem failure patients, which causes them to briefly raise their arms and drop them crossed on their chests (in a position similar to some Egyptian mummies). The phenomenon is named after the Biblical figure Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus Christ raised from the dead in the Gospel of John.

List of premature obituaries

A premature obituary is an obituary of someone who was still alive at the time of publication. Examples include that of inventor, businessman, and chemist Alfred Nobel, whose premature obituary condemning him as a "merchant of death" may have prompted him to create the Nobel Prize; black nationalist Marcus Garvey, whose actual death may have been precipitated by reading his own obituary; and actor Abe Vigoda, who was the subject of so many premature obituaries that a website was created to state whether he was alive or dead.

This article lists the recipients of incorrect death reports (not just formal obituaries) from publications, media organisations, official bodies, and widely used information sources such as the Internet Movie Database; but not mere rumours of deaths, nor reports from sites which feature automated death hoax stories designed to draw in page clicks from specific web searches. People who were presumed (though not categorically declared) to be dead, and joke death reports that were widely believed, are also included.

Master Blaster (musician)

Master Blaster (born Cornelius Oloya) was a Ugandan dancehall musician. He rose to fame when he released the sexually suggestive song Emboko in 2007, which received massive airplay until 2012.


Megadeath (or megacorpse) is one million human deaths, usually caused by a nuclear explosion. The term was used by scientists and thinkers who strategized likely outcomes of all-out nuclear warfare.

Pallor mortis

Pallor mortis (Latin: pallor "paleness", mortis "of death"), the first stage of death, is an after-death paleness that occurs in those with light/white skin.

Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay is an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The island contains about 1,000 acres (405 ha) of land, a mile-long beach and features a high-end beach resort with 61 rooms. Parrot Cay became a private island resort in 1998. It is located about 575 mi (925 km) south east of Miami, and can be reached by a 35-minute boat ride from Providenciales, the main island in Turks and Caicos.

Paul is dead

"Paul is dead" is an urban legend and conspiracy theory alleging that Paul McCartney, of the English rock band the Beatles, died in November 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike.

In September 1969, a rumour of McCartney's supposed death began spreading across college campuses in the United States. The rumour was based on perceived clues found in Beatles songs and album covers. Clue-hunting proved infectious, and within a few weeks had become an international phenomenon. Rumours declined after an interview with McCartney, who had been secluded with his family in Scotland, was published in Life magazine in November 1969.

During the 1970s, the phenomenon was the subject of analysis in the fields of sociology, psychology and communications. References to the legend are still occasionally made in popular culture. McCartney himself poked fun at it with his 1993 live album, titling it Paul Is Live, with cover art parodying clues allegedly placed on the cover of the Beatles' album Abbey Road. In 2009, Time magazine included "Paul is dead" in its feature on ten of "the world's most enduring conspiracy theories".

R. D. Reynolds

Randy Baer (born January 12, 1969), better known by his ring and pen name RD (Real Deal) Reynolds, is a former American professional wrestling manager and is also the co-creator of the professional wrestling website WrestleCrap, with Merle Vincent (who died in September 2000). He has also authored three books, WrestleCrap, The Death of WCW, co-authored with Bryan Alvarez, and The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!, co-authored with Blade Braxton. He has been called "the foremost authority on the worst of professional wrestling" by the Canadian Online Explorer.

The Curtis Mayflower

The Curtis Mayflower is an American rock band formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2013. The group consists of lead singer Craig Rawding, guitarist Pete Aleksi, bassist Jeremy Moses Curtis, keyboard player Brooks Milgate, and drummer Duncan Arsenault.

The group's debut album "Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack" was released on January 28, 2014. In March 2017 the band released their sophomore album "Death Hoax" to positive reviews.

In medicine
After death

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