To paraphrase the great American humourist Mark Twain, Twitter reports of Sylvester Stallone’s death are an exaggeration.
Stallone and his brother confirmed on social media the actor was alive and well after he was the victim of a “death hoax”.
How did the hoax unfold?
Death hoaxes usually originate from a website or person intending to spread the rumour, and go viral as web-users are duped into believing the claim.
In Stallone’s case, pranksters even mocked up fake pictures showing the actor in his “final days”.
The hoax, which started overnight in the US while the actor and his representatives were asleep, raced across the internet.
By morning, Stallone was already being mourned by a legion of adoring fans.
As Stallone’s name topped internet searches, a 2012 video about the death of his son resurfaced as the most watched video on the BBC News website.
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What did the actor say about it?
Rocky refused to stay down.
The 71-year-old actor and his brother took to social media to debunk the prank.
“Please ignore this stupidity,” Stallone wrote in an Instagram post.
“Alive and well and happy and healthy.”
Stallone, who recently appeared in the NBC television series This Is Us, said he was “still punching”.
His brother railed against the perpetrators of the death hoax.
“Rumors that my brother is dead are false,” Frank Stallone wrote on Twitter.
“What kind of sick demented cruel mind thinks of things like this to post?
“People like this are mentally deranged and don’t deserve a place in society.”
Who else has the internet killed off?
Death hoaxes are not uncommon.
While they occurred before the internet, the web has amplified their impact.
Such hoaxes typically target celebrities or politicians.
In fact, Stallone was the victim of another death hoax in 2016, according to NME.
Musician Jon Bon Jovi was notably “killed” by the internet in 2011.
The Livin’ on a Prayer singer posted a photo of himself smiling and holding a sign that said: “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey.”
The date and time was written beneath it.
Actor Jackie Chan was also the victim of a death hoax.
The Rush Hour star had the dubious pleasure of having more than 50 RIP Facebook pages in his honour, despite being alive.
The 63-year-old has “died” several times.
In 2011, his representatives took to Facebook to debunk a rumour that he had suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.
“He did not suffer a heart attack and die, as was reported on many social networking sites and in online news reports,” said the post.
“Jackie is fine and is busy preparing for the filming of his next movie.”