1. Eddie Murphy
A frequent target for these situations, Eddie Murphy has been declared dead over the Internet by way of a major car accident, and an unfortunate snowboarding accident four times alone.
2. Dave Matthews
In 2007, a CNN article surfaced stating Matthews had died of a drug overdose (with similar rumors surfacing in 2003). The hoax was all the work of a sneaky person who mimicked the website’s content interface, and hosted the fake updates from their home.
3. Morgan Freeman
The iconic actor endured three separate social-media fueled hoaxes in 2012 alone.
4. Bill Cosby
When the unforgettable and beloved comic endured his fifth hoax in 2012, it was a nation-wide trending topic, and it spawned a rogue Facebook community memorial surpassing 300,000 members.
When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away, Twitter users became confused by the trending topic #nowthatchersdead, reading it improperly “Now That Cher’s Dead,” and collectively melted down without double-checking proper news outlets on the real status of the legendary star.
6. R. Kelly
A website called Global Associated News published a piece on May 5, 2013 claiming Kells had died in a jet ski accident in Turks and Caicos. Word quickly spread through the Twitterverse before readers had the time to scroll down the page of the news story to read the caveat that the story was 100% fake and for entertainment purposes only.
7. Bill Nye
The hero of middle school science classrooms everywhere was widely reported dead across Twitter, trending twice in 2011, and once in 2012. After the 2012 incident, and confirming his well-being, he actually leveraged the chatter in a productive direction and reemerged with new material, releasing a series of short web videos about the importance of teaching evolution in classrooms.
8. Jon Bon Jovi
In 2011, a website posing as a legitimate news organization (that has since been shuttered) reported that he had suffered a cardiac arrest, then passed away in a hospital. With no disclaimer on the report, and a story left unconfirmed, fans still immediately took to Twitter to mourn. He confirmed he’s still (wanted dead or) alive that Christmas.
9. Jackie Chan
The action movie hero has over 50 memorial Facebook pages in his honor after two major death hoax incidents in 2011 – each resulting from social media rumors he’d suffered a heart attack.
10. Kel Mitchell
By 2006, social networks were not yet booming. No one had heard from the former Nickelodeon star in a long time, and rumors of his death suddenly began to circulate by way of an “official statement” that spread via email.
11. Jaleel White
Likewise, the “loss” of the actor well-loved as Steve Urkel went down around the same time in 2006, originating from a message on MySpace.
In the early years before Wikipedia was more closely monitored, reports of the stand-up comic’s passing made it to news organizations once someone published an unconfirmed edit to his page. The first call the comic got asking to confirm the news came from his own daughter.
13. Britney Spears
In 2009, the pop star’s TwitPic account was hacked, sending out messages that outright said she had passed.
14. In that same week’s span of time in 2009, hackers also created death hoaxes for Jeff Goldblum…
By way of taking a fatal fall on set in New Zealand.
15. and Harrison Ford.
Both reports surfaced during the launch of a now-defunct site that could generate bogus stories from news-writing templates.