Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
American Idol's William Hung Found Dead of Heroin Overdose
Las Vegas, NV — Kitschy American Idol Star William Hung, famous for his botching of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," was found dead yesterday, apparently of an intentional heroin overdose. The announcement of his death sent shockwaves to the tens of people who still found him funny.
Ironically, Mr. Hung was found by a VH1 camera crew sent to begin filing "William Hung: Behind the 'Music.'" Viacom immediately decided to rename the special: "William Hung: fifteen minutes till death."
[Rest of article here.]
In mid-July 2004,
The notice of Mr. Hung's death wasn't even a "serious" rumor in that it was started by a spoof, and the sample excerpted above provides several clues that the William Hung death piece was intended to be humorous (e.g., the heroin overdose was "intentional"; the word "music" is enclosed in quotes; the deceased was found funny by "tens of people"). The article that prompted the rumor was published on
Mr. Hung remains very much alive and has since the rumor performed in a number of venues.
Last updated: 2 July 2005
Go, Jesamyn. "He's a Loser, Baby." MSNBC.com. 26 February 2004. The [Malaysia] Star. "William Hung Is Alive." 28 July 2004