Fact Check

Are These the Last Words of Billionaire Steve Gouves?

Can fictional characters be penalized for plagiarizing fake news?

Published Jan 7, 2019

Image Via Shutterstock
Billionaire Steve Gouves delivered an inspirational speech on his death bed.

In December 2015, we looked into a bit of text being shared on social media which was said to represent the final words of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. We hoped our article helped to put the kibosh on that false rumor, but in January 2019 a nearly identical speech was circulated anew, only this time attributed to a different billionaire with an eerily similar name: Steve Gouves.

The "Steve Gouves death bed speech" was shared by many social media users in January 2019, with one of the most popular postings being that of Joshua Feurstein, an evangelical internet personality who has previously spread misinformation and is perhaps most famously known for railing about Starbucks' Christmas cups.

Fuerstein's posting included a photograph of a bearded man, presumably Mr. Steve Gouves, and the following text:

From my friend David Norrie

Steve Gouves dies a billionaire, with a fortune of $ 7 billion, at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer, and here are some of his last words:

In other eyes, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have a little joy, and in the end wealth is just a fact of life to which I am accustomed.

At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death.

You can hire someone to drive a car for you, make money for you - but you can not rent someone to carry the disease for you. One can find material things, but there is one thing that can not be found when it is lost - "life".

Treat yourself well, and cherish others. As we get older we are smarter, and we slowly realize that the watch is worth $ 30 or $ 300 - both of which show the same time.

Whether we carry a purse worth $ 30 or $ 300 - the amount of money in the wallets are the same. Whether we drive a car worth $ 150,000, or a car worth $ 30,000 - the road and distance are the same, we reach the same destination.
If we drink a bottle worth $ 300 or wine worth $ 10 - the "stroller" will be the same.

If the house we live in is 300 square meters, or 3000 square meters - the loneliness is the same.
Your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you're flying first class, or economy class - if the plane crashes, you crash with it.

So, I hope you understand that when you have friends or someone to talk to - this is true happiness!

Five Undeniable Facts-

1. Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy. - So when they grow up they will know the value of things, not the price.

2. Eat your food as medicine, otherwise you will need to eat your medicine as food.

3. Whoever loves you will never leave you, even if he has 100 reasons to give up. He will always find one reason to hold on.

4. There is a big difference between being human and human being.

5. If you want to go fast - go alone! But if you want to go far - go together!

And in conclusion,
The six best doctors in the world.
1. Sunlight
2. Rest
3. Exercise
4. Diet
5. Self-confidence
6. Friends

Keep them in all stages of life and enjoy a healthy life.

"Love the people God sent you, one day he'll need them back."

??Something worth sharing!??

The man in this photograph is not "Steve Gouves" but rather James R. Kirouac, a "Level 2 Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique Practitioner" with the company "Leading Edge Thought," who, as best we can tell at the time of this writing, is still very much alive:

The first half of this text (everything preceding "Treat yourself well and cherish others) is a nearly verbatim copy of the fake deathbed speech falsely attributed to Steve Jobs back in 2015. That speech appears to have originated on a random blog and was never connected to Jobs in any real way. (You can read more about the actual last words of Steve Jobs here.)

The second half of this text has been circulating independently from the first since at least September 2015, when it was posted to a Chinese language blog at xuite.net. That posting was not attributed to Jobs, Guoves, or any other billionaire, and it was not shared as if it were a deathbed speech.

The fake Steve Jobs deathbed speech started making its way around the web in November 2015 and readers, apparently, have revised and expanded it over the years. At some point the text posted to xuite.net was tacked onto the end of the original fake speech, Jobs' name was changed to Guoves, and an image of an unrelated bald man was employed to depict the fictional billionaire.

In short: Steve Guoves did not make this speech on his death bed because Steve Guoves does not exist. Much of this text was previously attributed to Steve Jobs, but the Apple co-founder did not utter those words on his death bed either.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.