A death hoax is a deliberate or confused report of someone's death that turns out to be incorrect and murder rumors. In some cases it might be because the person has intentionally faked death.
In recent years fake death hoaxes about celebrities have been most widely perpetuated via the Internet. However they are not a new phenomenon; in 1945 following the death of Franklin Roosevelt there were hoax reports of the deaths of Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra, among other celebrities of the time. Possibly the most famous hoax of this type was the "Paul (McCartney) is dead" rumour of the late 1960s.
Hoaxes about the death of a celebrity increase in frequency when genuine celebrity deaths occur. With the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, which closely coincided with the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays and Patrick Swayze, hoax reports emerged concerning the deaths of a number of celebrities. Paul Walker's death in December 2013 sparked rumours of Eddie Murphy dying in a snowboarding accident.
On 18 March 2015, a Death hoax website reported false news of Lee Kuan Yew death (first prime minister of Singapore. The suspect is an unidentified minor who created a false webpage that resembled the PMO official website. Several international news organisations reported on Lee's death based on this and later retracted their statements. On 20 March 2015 Acting Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sekher Warrier, advised members of public not to spread falsehoods. in the meantime on 23 March 2015 Lee Kuan Yew dies. However, on 8 April 2015 the AGC added that the decision to issue a stern warning to the student, which was done in the presence of his parents, was taken after "careful consideration of all relevant factors" including his personal circumstances and readiness to accept responsibility.
Death denial rumors
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- Frank Marshall White, "Mark Twain Amused," New York Journal, 2 June 1897
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- Considine, Austin (19 September 2012). "One Comeback They Could Skip". New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Singapore Police Identify Suspect in False Web Post About Lee Kuan Yew". wsj.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Singapore dismisses Lee Kuan Yew death report as hoax". cnn.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Police looking into hoax website that falsely announced death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Student below 16 identified as suspect behind fake PMO announcement on Lee Kuan Yew". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Student who posted fake PMO announcement on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death given stern warning". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.