On March 9, 2023 — as reports spread about U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell being hospitalized for a concussion after a fall — social media posts circulated claiming that he had died.
"Mitch McConnell is dead," one Twitter user posted. Another user posted on the platform, "BREAKING: Senator Mitch McConnell is dead." That user replied to the tweet with, "Source: just trust me bro." At least one post included the hashtag "died suddenly," a reference to a widely debunked conspiracy theory about the effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mitch McConnell is dead
— MoneySpreadWizard (@ettingermentum) March 9, 2023
BREAKING: Senator Mitch McConnell is dead.
— woozuh YE24 (@Kingwoo67) March 9, 2023
The rumor appeared to be unfounded, with no evidence to substantiate it, but we're withholding a truth rating until we learn more. Many reputable publications reported on McConnell's fall and subsequent hospitalization, including The Associated Press (AP), The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Wall Street Journal. If the concussion had been fatal like the social media posts allege, news of his death would appear in those stories, as well as receive separate coverage. That wasn't happening.
Additionally, shortly before this writing, his Communications Director David Popp released a statement about his condition with no indication that he was dead. That statement read:
Leader McConnell tripped at a dinner event Wednesday evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment. The Leader is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes.
On March 13, it was reported that McConnell had been discharged from the hospital and would complete inpatient physical therapy before being able to return home. On March 25, it was reported he had left therapy and returned home.
We reached out to Popp directly for more details on McConnell's condition. We will update this report when, or if, we get a response.
Some posts reporting on McConnell's fictitious death were rooted in humor and not taken seriously. For years, a couple of Twitter accounts have been tracking whether he is alive, one since November 2018.