Guitarist Willie Nelson Has Died – Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Guitarist Willie Nelson died in February of 2015.
False reports of Willie Nelson’s death were started by a fake news website.
The MediaMass website routinely publishes fake obituaries for living celebrities in an attempt to drive traffic to the website. Then, when one of its celebrity death hoaxes go viral, MediaMass follows up with a story that “debunks” its own rumor like this one about Willie Nelson’s fake death:
“News of guitarist Willie Nelson’s death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the February 2015 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of fake celebrity death reports. Thankfully, the guitarist best known for hit songs like To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before or Pancho and Lefty is alive and well.”
MediaMass has used this scheme (with obituaries and follow-up stories that are all nearly identically worded) on celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Betty White and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For example, here’s the MediaMass story “debunking” its own account of Miley Cyrus’s death:
“News of actress Miley Cyrus’s death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the February 2015 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of fake celebrity death reports. Thankfully, the actress best known for her roles in Hannah Montana or The Last Song is alive and well.”
The Willie Nelson death hoax spilled over onto social media, too. A page dedicated to the musician’s life was “liked” by more than 1 million fans that had been duped into believing that he had died.
But Willie Nelson is alive and well. As the Internet lit up with false reports of his death, Nelson’s representatives were updating his upcoming tour schedule and announced that he would star in the upcoming moving, “Waiting for the Miracle to Come.”