Death Hoaxes and Real Celebrity Deaths

With the number of death hoaxes which circulate online every week, we have compiled them into a single location for easy perusal.

Below is a running collection of internet death hoaxes (and real celebrity deaths), updated June 13, 2015.

Celebrity Death Reports

James Earl Jones: False

In late August 2015, internet rumors swirled that legendary actor James Earl Jones had passed away. Despite being easily proved false, the rumor persisted for several days.

Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean): False

In August 2015, rumors circulated that Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr. Bean had passed away. Atkinson has been the subject of several false internet rumors over the years, including multiple death hoaxes, and a strange 2013 (false) rumor that he had converted to Islam.

Roddy Piper: True

Several news sources have confirmed that wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died at the age of 61 from cardiac arrest.

Piper’s agent confirmed the death to TMZ and Variety.

Patrick Macnee: True

June 2015. After unconfirmed rumors circulated online, the death of Avengers actor Patrick Macnee was confirmed by a statement on the actor’s official website. “Daniel Patrick Macnee died a natural death at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93, with his family at his bedside, according to his son, Rupert,” the statement began.

Some social readers stumbled across the fake Mediamass article proclaiming the actor’s death to be a hoax.

Read more about Mediamass here.

Jackie Chan: False

June 2015. Jackie Chan belongs to a select group of celebrities whose deaths are reported seemingly every week. Other members of this group include Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, and Betty White. On June 14, 2015, rumors of Chan’s death began circulating (again) online, with no sources or corroboration. No news outlet has reported Chan’s death.

Gene Wilder: False

June 2015. Rumors circulated that actor Gene Wilder had died. The rumor circulated twice in one week, neither time offering any sources as evidence. Further confusing the issue is that many readers have stumbled upon the fake news generator “MediaMass” which publishes the same “death hoax” article for virtually every major living celebrity and politician. See the link below regarding MediaMass. It’s possible that the current round of death hoaxes coincided with Wilder’s 82nd birthday which occurred on June 11. Those seeking information about Wilder may have encountered the fake MediaMass post with a headline that reads “Gene Wilder dead 2015.”

Rue McClanahan: True, but 5 Years late

June 2015. In an odd twist of events, reports of the death of actress Rue McClanahan of “Golden Girls” fame were circulated heavily online – when the actress actually died 5 years ago. See the full story here.

Christopher Lee: True

June 2015. Lord of the Rings actor Christopher Lee passed away on June 7, after a career spanning 70 years.

Percy Sledge: True

April 2015. Major media sources announced on April 14, 2015 that Percy Sledge, the singer best known for the hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” has died at the age of 73.

Martin Lawrence: False

April 2015. A fake news article by News Buzz Daily published a phony death report for Martin Lawrence. The story picked up steam around April 13 on social media, with fans looking for verification about the comedian’s status. Lawrence was seen tweeting since that fake report was published.

Willie Nelson: False

Willie_NelsonA fake news article by the official looking MSMBC (not to be confused with the real MSNBC) claimed that Nelson was found dead in his home at the age of 81. The realistic looking story was shared by many readers, unaware that the article was completely fabricated. In small print at the bottom of the article were the words, “This story is not true.”

Lauryn Hill: False

When 19 year old basketball player Lauren Hill passed away, fans of singer Lauryn Hill mistakenly believed that the celebrity had died. See the full story here.

Have you seen a celebrity death report circulating online? Let us know about it.

Note: If you see a report about a celebrity death hoax on the website Mediamass, keep in mind that is a fake news generator which has the same article for hundreds of living celebrities.