In late October 2023, false rumors circulated claiming that actor Chuck Norris had died. For instance, a viral YouTube video, with more than 1,000 views, claimed in the headline, “R.I.P talented Actor Chuck Norris passed away at the age of 82, goodbye and rest."
The YouTube video offered no evidence for an onlooker to independently verify the claim, nor did it provide details on Norris' cause or manner of death.
Rumors about Norris' death followed waves of similar posts over years, fictionalizing the celebrity’s death. We have frequently covered hoaxes about his death, including one claiming he died of COVID-19.
However, there was no evidence that the actor died, as of November 2023. Had that actually happened, reputable news outlets such as The Associated Press would have published obituaries to memorialize his death. That had not happened.
The hoax spread amid news reports that Norris was making a comeback in the movies after more than a decade, with a new release scheduled for 2024.
In addition to the social media posts, a November 2023 article on MediaMass drew attention to the alleged celebrity death, calling the death report a hoax. However, MediaMass is not a reliable source of information. The outlet describes its articles as "satire,” and a page on its website says its goal is to “expose with humor, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe."
Celebrity death hoaxes are a form of junk news, designed to get gullible readers to linger on a website or engage with a social media user because a famous person is involved. Such articles are often clickbait, if not outright phishing scams. In rare cases, the unfactual rumors are based on faulty reporting or misunderstandings.