Claim:   Country music legend Willie Nelson has died.


Example:   [Collected via Facebook, April 2015]

Is Willie Nelson dead?


Origins:   The 81-year-old legendary country singer Willie Nelson is a frequent target of celebrity death hoaxes, the most recent iteration occurring in August 2015. One of the more prominent purveyors of this particular celebrity death hoax has been the fake news web site (deliberately titled so as to cause confusion with the genuine news site, which on 21 February 2015 published a false report claiming the famous musician had passed away, then updated their hoax article again on 11 April 2015 and started a new round of the fake Willie Nelson death rumor:

Legendary country music star Willie Nelson was found dead today in his Maui home. He was 81 years old. Rumors of Nelson’s death first circulated early April 11, 2015 on social media outlets but was later confirmed by police.

A groundskeeper scheduled to perform yard maintenance on Nelson’s property reportedly found the singer/songwriter unresponsive on the front lawn and immediately called 911.

“There was no evidence of drug abuse or alcohol and no signs of foul play,” said Det. Aldeson.

“Determining an official cause of death could take as long as 3 weeks,” said County Coroner Frank Shultz. “It’s just too early to tell what caused his tragic death.”

The shocking news comes just days after a recent “60 Minutes” interview where Nelson was quoted as saying “Life is good and I have never felt better or been happier.”

The fake article unfortunately fooled many readers as it made the rounds of social media again, even though it was completely false and was just a recycled version of the very same prank the site released months earlier. The latter part of the article’s statement that the “story is still developing and all information is not yet officially verified,” is technically correct, as nothing about the story has been “officially verified” because none of it is even remotely true.

No legitimate news outlet has reported on Nelson’s death, which is not surprising since Nelson himself is actually alive and well.

Last updated:   23 December 2015