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These Celebrities Have Been Targets of Online Death Hoaxes

The list includes Julia Roberts, Joe Jackson, Demi Lovato, and Denzel Washington — just to name a few.

Published Dec 7, 2022

 (Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images

Celebrity death hoaxes (i.e. false rumors about famous people dying) can take many forms, such as Facebook posts sharing misleading articles with sensational headlines, or TikTok and YouTube videos purporting to break the tragic news without naming sources.

This form of junk news, designed to get gullible readers to pay attention because a famous person is involved, is often clickbait, if not an outright phishing scam. In rare cases, a false death report may be based simply on a misunderstanding, as we first explained in September 2022:

Many of the hoaxes tell an outlandish story about a famous person's death, like the time Jeff Goldblum or Tony Danza fell off cliffs (on separate occasions), or when Wayne Knight got into a car accident, or when a number of actors died while snowboarding. In the case of Queen Elizabeth II, who was around 96 years old and ailing anyway, the "news" spread months before her actual death in September 2022.

Snopes readers often alert us to dubious posts or articles spreading these false claims (you can do that via our contact page), and, in response, we publish fact checks to alert others of the misinformation. Below is a sampling of that work.

A death hoax claimed that Clint Eastwood is dead but it was not true and was simply a way to infect users with malware.
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eddie murphy death hoax
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Julia Roberts is not dead despite a very sad news or extremely sad news death hoax on Facebook.
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Alan Jackson is not dead as it was all a death hoax nor was there any very or extremely sad news.
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Whoopi Goldberg is but one celebrity victim of an online death hoax.
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Online posts said there was very sad news and that Simon Cowell was dead, but it was a death hoax.
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Did Conor McGregor Die?
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Facebook posts said there was very sad news and that Bruce Willis was dead, but it was a death hoax.
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Amy Roloff was not dead despite death hoax that said the star of Little People, Big World had died.
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Bill O'Reilly
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Reggae Artist Buju Banton
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Queen Elizabeth II
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Miley Cyrus
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Car, Automobile, Vehicle
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Bill Cosby jury trial
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Willie Nelson in front of a microphone
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Sylvester Stallone was not dead yet despite a death hoax that said he died.
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Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.

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