Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee passed away in May 2016.
In May 2016, a false rumor circulated via social media holding that Stan Lee, the famed Marvel Comics writer who had a hand in creating such legendary figures as Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men, had passed away:
The rumor sprang from a “prank” article published on the web site Cult of Buzz, which stated that the comic book creator had “dyed,” not “died,” at the age of 93:
Legendary Marvel Comics Writer Stan Lee, 93, Dyes Peacefully In His West Hollywood Home
In a press release from his wife Joan Clayton Babcock Lee, it has been confirmed that the dark streaks you see in Lee’s hair are not natural.
“Stan adores the public and loves all the fans. That being said he doesn’t like to discuss the fact that his hair is completely white now.”
The punning title was lost on some readers who skimmed the article and came to the conclusion that Stan Lee had shuffled off this mortal coil.
Stan Lee is still with us, however: No credible announcements have reported his passing, and the comic book icon is still active on social media.
Cult of Buzz wasn’t the first publication to use the homophonic nature of the dye/die pairing to fool readers into believing that a celebrity had died. A nearly identical article published in September 2014 claimed that actress Betty White had “dyed” in her home.