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.