Comedian Tommy Chong of 'Cheech and Chong' fame passed away in February 2017.
On 15 December 2015, the web site Viral Time Lapse posted an article headlined “Tommy Chong Dead At 77 | Marijuana Comedy Star Looses [sic] Battle with Cancer,” reporting that actor Tommy Chong, half of the famed Cheech and Chong comedy duo, had passed away. The article linked to a Facebook page on which fans of the comedian were asked to show their condolences by commenting and liking the page:
Actor Tommy Chong — best known for his roles in That ’70s Show or Cheech & Chong — is dead.
At about 11 p.m. ET on Thursday (December 17, 2015), our beloved actor Tommy Chong passed away. Tommy Chong was born on May 24, 1938 in Edmonton. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.
That account was a hoax, and the clickbait Viral Time Lapse published the same false article again March 2016, August 2016, and again in February 2017. The comedian remains alive and well, however.
In addition to the fact that death announcements are rarely accompanied by crass requests to Like a Facebook page, reports of Chong’s death are dubious given that he’s still tweeting on social media and making reference to events that occurred after his supposed passing, including the launch of the Chong’s Choice web site:
Chongschoice.us is live! pic.twitter.com/0DMQkkaifo
— Tommy Chong (@tommychong) February 20, 2017
👉I'll be in Berlin for the International Cannabis business conference 🙌 Come join me 👍 pic.twitter.com/tmsmMybyDr
— Tommy Chong (@tommychong) April 7, 2017
While the story about Tommy Chong’s death is obviously fake, it is true that the actor was diagnosed with rectal cancer in and that he underwent an operation in 2015 to deal with it.