On July 31, 2023, reports surfaced claiming that actor Paul Reubens had died. The claim was true.
According to an Instagram post that was posted on Reubens' official account that day, the actor best known for his role as a children's TV star on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" died at age 70 from cancer.
The post was captioned:
Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness. Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.
Soon after reports of Reubens' death started circulating on social media, Snopes readers flooded our website to determine whether they were real or a hoax.
Readers often turn to Snopes when they hear about a celebrity death to see if it's real. False death announcements are a common form of internet junk news designed to convince gullible readers to go for clickbait or fall for phishing scams. Here's a deeper look into the misinformation trend, and here's a running list of celebrities that have been targets of it.