In February 2018, Facebook users began encountering a post proclaiming that Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone had "died early this morning after his battle with prostate cancer." The post was accompanied by photographs showing the actor seemingly in a sickly state, with thinning hair, a haggard face, and much reduced in weight:
These images, however, stemmed from the actor's role in the forthcoming film Creed II, in which he portrays the famous Rocky Balboa character battling against cancer. The on-set photographs had previously caused consternation among some of Sly's fans when they were posted online.
Stallone himself tweeted about the rumor to reassure fans he was alive and well:
Please ignore this stupidity… Alive and well and happy and healthy… Still punching! https://t.co/sgRhOguHhs
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) February 19, 2018
This celebrity death hoax echoed a September 2016 fraudulent message also spread via social media claiming that Stallone had been found dead at his home in Los Angeles:
This Facebook message was linked to a clickbait web site known for creating and sharing celebrity death hoaxes. This web site was responsible for previous death hoaxes involving Vin Diesel, Nicolas Cage, Jaden Smith, Jim Carrey, Angelina Jolie and John Cena:
This web site spreads misinformation (almost always a death hoax) in an attempt to bait people into giving away their information. Here's how the scam works: A salacious title (Sylvester Stallone found dead!) is posted to Facebook. Those interested in reading the article click the provided link, but before being redirected to the story they are greeted with a pop-up requesting permission to view their personal information:
Sylvester Stallone is not dead. When we bypassed the above-displayed permission request, we were greeted with a story about the actor's son, Sage, who passed away in 2012.
It would be national news if Stallone really had passed away, yet news stories about him current in February 2018 references his ongoing participation in the upcoming Rocky series spinoff sequel
As of October 2018, Stallone was busily engaged in production of the upcoming Rambo 5 film.