These Celebs Had To Make Announcements They Weren't Dead

The life of a celebrity means that sometimes you can wake up to your name trending on Twitter. In recent years being a trending topic means getting canceled for problematic behavior and needing a publicist to help with damage control. However, sometimes what's trending is truly just fake news. Long before Twitter, there was one version of fake news that always went viral — a celebrity death hoax. Are you really a celebrity if you haven't woken up to the shocking news of your own death?

Celebrity death hoaxes have been around for years and as social media continues to evolve, they've become more believable. Online pranksters have published websites to resemble reputable news outlets all in an attempt to dupe fans into thinking the reports are real. During Christmas in 2022, the death hoax took on a new life on TikTok as kids pranked their loved ones with fake reports of their favorite celebrity's death.

All of the biggest names in the world have dealt with a death hoax before. Many have been "killed off" once a year. Here are a few celebrities that had to announce that they weren't dead just yet.

Wayne Knight found himself trending for the wrong reason

A car accident is no laughing matter, but "Seinfeld" actor Wayne Knight found the humor during this death hoax in 2014. The actor was rumored to have been in a fatal car accident in Pennsylvania. Though the car accident was real, the detail of Knight being on the road was fake. The report came from a website falsely labeled as TMZ, which led many to believe the report was true. As the rumor quickly began to spread on Twitter, Knight was forced to clear the air for the worried fans. 

"Some of you will be glad to hear this, others strangely disappointed, but....I am alive and well!" he quipped in a tweet. The outpouring of love and concern from the fans over the news took the actor by surprise. "Does someone have to DIE to trend? Geez! Thanks for all the love everybody," he tweeted. "I didn't know you cared. Glad to be breathing!" Fans breathed a sigh of relief hearing the good news from Knight. 

This Reba McEntire rumor brought her family to tears

A headline that says Reba McEntire has passed away is enough to have any country music fan clutching their pearls. In 2012, a fake news site published a report that claimed McEntire fell off a cliff while climbing a mountain in Austria. The site the rumor originated from (Global Media News) is known for publishing fake reports. In fact, it featured a disclaimer that read, "This story is 100% fake! This is an entertainment website, and this is a totally fake article based on zero truth and is a complete work of fiction for entertainment purposes" (via Us Weekly).

Nevertheless, fans were still worried about their favorite red-headed singer. "There is a rumor going around that I died after falling off a mountain in Austria yesterday while shooting a movie," she tweeted following the news. "While I would love to be shooting a movie in Austria, I definitely did not fall off a mountain! Nor am I dead! I am alive and kicking!" Cue her "Reba" theme song, "I'm a Survivor". 

The good news was McEntire was fine, the bad news was her family believed the reports. In an interview with "The Talk," the singer revealed her nephew broke down in tears when he heard the news. "There are so many of those hoaxes that are just going around and I think it's cruel," she said.

Morgan Freeman had this message from the afterlife

Morgan Freeman is known to many for his silky smooth voice. His distinctive tone makes everything he says believable. But in 2012, the actor woke up to news he couldn't believe. A Facebook page went viral declaring Freeman was dead from heart failure. The news spread like wildfire with the page receiving over 842,000 likes. Freeman, who was alive and well, was forced to hop on Facebook and ease the pain of his dedicated fans. 

The actor posted a selfie from Las Vegas and let everyone know he's still around and having a grand ole time. "Like Mark Twain, I keep reading that I have died," Freeman captioned the selfie. "I hope those stories are not true...But if they are, I'm happy to report that my afterlife seems identical to my life when I was alive." Fans were also relieved to hear that the actor was currently filming a new movie in Las Vegas. "That is anything but a death sentence," he joked.

The Oscar winner isn't new to dealing with bizarre rumors born on the internet. In 2012, he was also forced to shut down reports that he married his step-granddaughter, per TMZ. "What is even more alarming is that these fabrications are now being picked up by the legitimate press as well," he said in a statement.

The internet killed Jackie Chan one too many times

Jackie Chan is one of the most beloved actors in the world. Despite his massive success in action movies, Chan has managed to keep a low profile over the years. The actor barely makes headlines for things outside of his work. In spite of that, Chan has been the victim of a handful of death hoaxes that probably have his publicist working overtime. In 2013, the actor took to Facebook to break the news that he was still alive and shut down a few other rumors. 

Chan even went the extra mile to pose alongside a newspaper to prove that it was a recent photo. "Today, everybody called to congratulate me on my rumored engagement. Afterward, everybody called me to see if I was alive," he wrote in the caption. "If I died, I would probably tell the world! I took a photo with today's date, just in case you don't believe me! However, thank you all for your concern. Kiss kiss and love you all!"

In 2016, the internet killed him off again. This time an Australian news website declared the actor died in an accident while visiting the country. Apparently, the report was pulled from a Chinese forum. At the time of the fake reports, Chan was in Iceland filming a movie. When asked about the rumors, the actor's representative joked about the constant rumors about his demise. "This is frequent news. Up until now, how many times has Jackie died and come back to life?" they noted (via Yahoo! News).

Jon Bon Jovi's message from heaven

In 2011, the internet killed Jon Bon Jovi and clearly forgot to tell him about it. Fake reports began circulating on Twitter and Facebook that alleged the singer passed away from cardiac arrest. In an effort to make the report believable, the fake reports even featured an obituary recycled from the Los Angeles Times, originally used for Michael Jackson in 2009. 

The Bon Jovi frontman made a post on Facebook to dispel the rumors with a hint of humor. He posed in front of a Christmas tree with a cheeky sign that read, "Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey." Alongside the photo was a caption that told fans, "Rest assured that Jon is alive and well! This photo was just taken." Fans of the band were relieved to learn he wasn't on the stairway to heaven just yet.

As he took to the stage in New Jersey a week later, the singer continued to poke fun at the bizarre death hoax. According to, during the concert he pretended to receive phone calls from friends asking if he was still alive. He even referenced Mark Twain's famous quote about his own death hoax, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Bon Jovi handled this death hoax like a true rockstar.

Jimmy Fallon's death trended on Twitter

A monologue on a late night talk show usually features a host commentating on politics, pop culture and everything in between. But what are you supposed to talk about when your host is supposedly dead? In November 2022, Jimmy Fallon got the surprise of his life when he realized #RIPJimmyFallon was the top trending topic on Twitter. With fake news spreading rampant on the social media platform, Fallon quickly asked Twitter's CEO for a helping hand. "Elon, can you fix this? #RIPJimmyFallon," the host tweeted

He might've needed help getting the death hoax to stop spreading, but he certainly didn't need help with poking fun at it in his next monologue. The host returned to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" from the dead and joked about his brief trip to the afterlife. "I've been to the other side," he told his audience. "I've seen the Pearly Gates! I've paid $8 for that blue checkmark in the sky but I want you all to know I wouldn't leave this earth until my job is done and tonight my job is to entertain you!" (Via Deadline). 

Unfortunately for Fallon, the death hoax came with some serious consequences. "When they heard I died, Ticketmaster kicked me out of line for Taylor Swift tickets," he joked. That's a hellish nightmare many Swifties can relate to. 

Ricky Martin responded to a fake video of his death

Online pranksters took the death hoax about Ricky Martin a little too far. In 2015, a fake news report about the singer dying in a car accident went viral on Youtube. What duped fans into believing it was real was the doctored footage intended to look like a news report from a local channel. The video included footage from a real car accident that was incorrectly labeled as Martin's car and police talking about a deceased victim labeled as Martin. Alongside the footage were fake statements supposedly from the singer's family and friends who were mourning the loss.

The edited news clip quickly went viral with many believing the "Livin' la Vida Loca" singer had passed away. As fans expressed shock and concern, Martin responded on Instagram. He assured fans that he was still alive but enjoying a slice of heaven. He posted one photo of a beach in Puerto Rico, writing, "Hello from #Heaven." He followed that up with another photo in front of a gorgeous sunset, and captioned it, "#Sunset in Heaven." 

If dealing with an outlandish death hoax wasn't enough, Martin also dealt with disturbing allegations from his nephew in 2021.

Loretta Lynn hit back against false reports

If there's one lesson the internet learned in 2019, it's to never count Loretta Lynn out. It all started when Radar reported the country star was in a nursing home living out her final days. A source told the outlet that the singer's health was rapidly declining after she suffered a stroke in 2017. "It's so sad to see Loretta breaking down," the source claimed. "She needs a walker or a wheelchair to get around now, and on top of that, she suffers from glaucoma, so her vision is severely compromised." The report indicated that the singer's worsened health meant she needed supervision at all times.

The country music star wasn't happy about the rumors and quickly put them to rest in a hilarious video posted on Facebook. "You're kidding me," she exclaimed while looking at the false reports. "I ain't dead and neither is Willie [Nelson]! Both of us are coming back to life and we're gonna raise hell." Alongside the video was a lengthy caption with a special message to all the tabloids reporting lies. "Well, through the years they've said I'm broke, homeless, cheating, drinking, gone crazy, terminally ill, and even dead! Poor things can't ever get it right," she wrote. "I guess if those old pesky tabloids are harassing me then they're giving someone else a break......but I'm about an inch from taking 'em to Fist City!" You tell 'em, Loretta!

George R.R. Martin's name caused confusion

In 2016, "Game of Thrones" fans went into panic mode when news broke of George Martin's death. A quick glance at the headlines and the trending topics had them mistakenly believe the brains behind their favorite fantasy novels, George R.R. Martin, had passed away. However, a closer look at the headline revealed that the George Martin that passed away was actually a famous producer for The Beatles. Before many could realize it, the internet soon flooded with heartbreak from fans of the HBO series who were desperately waiting for the author to finish his "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series. 

The mix-up led the author to make a blog post assuring fans that he was indeed still alive. "While it is strangely moving to realize that so many people around the world care so deeply about my life and death, I have to go with Mark Twain and insist that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," he wrote. The acclaimed author went on to pay tribute to the music producer and his accomplishments. "As for me, I am still here, still writing, still editing, still going to movies and reading books, and I expect to hang around for quite a while yet, thank you very much. But thank you all for caring."

Chloë Grace Moretz's family were left shaken by the fake news

The most dangerous part of the death hoax is that fans of a celebrity are not the only ones that fall for it. The fake reports can also leave families of the stars shocked and worried, especially if they can't get in contact with them right away. In 2013, reports online claimed actor Chloë Grace Moretz died in a fatal snowboarding accident during a trip to Switzerland. The "Carrie" star was in fact in Switzerland at the time, but was forced to explain to her fans that reports of the accident were false. 

"I don't know who made this up but you're disgusting. I am not dead. I did not die from snowboarding. It isn't even snowing here in Switzerland," she tweeted at the time. The actor definitely didn't find any humor in the fake reports and neither did her concerned family who were miles away trying to get in touch with her. "I've had my loved ones calling crying to check and see if I'm alive," she wrote in a follow-up tweet. "Don't make this up. It's not real. I am fully alive and here. You're sick."

Dwayne The Rock Johnson reportedly died twice

Death hoaxers have gone after all the biggest stars, but they certainly made a mistake going after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The wrestler-turned-movie star was a victim of a death hoax in 2011 when fake reports circulated that he fell off a cliff and died in New Zealand. It wasn't long before Johnson took to his Twitter page to let his fans know he was alive and delivered a menacing message to the online pranksters. "I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death — to show them how a dead foot feels up their a**," Johnson tweeted

That tweet was pretty on-brand for The Rock, right? However, the hoaxers didn't quite get the message because Johnson was once again falsely declared dead in 2019. A report went viral with a headline that read, "Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 after a terrible stunt attempted failed." The headline falsely attributed the report to the BBC, which duped many people on Facebook into believing the report came from a credible source. This time, the actor didn't menacingly respond to the death hoax — but we're sure his feelings haven't changed.

Zach Braff declared himself alive in the best way

In 2009, diehard fans of "Scrubs" woke up to upsetting news. A rumor alleging Zach Braff died from an overdose went viral across the internet. Though fans didn't find the death hoax funny, Braff found a way to make everyone laugh. The actor responded with a lengthy Youtube video confirming he's alive and slamming the reports. "I'm alive. I'm here at 'Scrubs' shooting the new 'Scrubs' title sequence... which is a little bit like dying, so I guess that was semi-accurate," he joked. "Also, I would never off myself with pills. If I had to do it, I would do it the way that everyone else would do it –– by hitting myself with pots and pans." 

Braff went on to address the blogger behind the death hoax and gave him the "Douchebag of The Day Award" for making his mother upset. His "Scrubs" co-star Donald Faison made an appearance and helped end the video with a hilarious rendition of 'Wind Beneath My Wings'. 

In an interview on "The Ellen Show," the actor explained that the rumor was originally started by a "Scrubs" super-fan who simply wanted to prank his friends. The actor was initially upset by the rumor, but later found the humor in it. "I kinda got bummed out when I put on Facebook that I was still alive and I didn't get that many likes," he quipped. 

Jeff Goldblum's mom believed the death hoax

On the internet, a lie spreads faster than the truth. Jeff Goldblum learned that the hard way in 2009 when a website reported that he died in New Zealand. According to that fake report, the actor fell off a cliff while filming a new movie. Despite Goldblum being alive and nowhere near a cliff in New Zealand, many of his close friends and family were left heartbroken and shocked by the reports. "Before we got the word out and I could call everybody, yes, my mom. She called and was like, 'Jeffrey, are you alright? Are you alright?' And then a friend of mine [who] very tearfully and hysterically left a message," the actor recalled on "Watch What Happens Live" (via AP).

His family weren't the only ones who believed the hoax — the entire internet did too. In an effort to get the word out that he was still alive, the actor appeared on "The Colbert Report" to jokingly deliver a tribute to himself. "No-one will miss Jeff Goldblum more than me," he told the crowd. "He was not only a friend and mentor, but he was also me." 

Despite the hoax being years in the past, Goldblum jokingly told The New Zealand Herald in 2016 that he's never been to the country and is now too scared to visit. "Could you imagine if that's the way I go? Wow. Could you imagine? 'They foretold the future, he actually did fall off a cliff in New Zealand,'" he joked.

Macaulay Culkin had a witty response to death rumors

Though some child stars have met tragic fates, the news in 2014 of a tragic ending to Macaulay Culkin's life was, indeed, a hoax. The "Home Alone" actor was a victim of a death hoax twice that same year. Rumors of his death swirled online and devastated messages from long-time fans immediately began pouring in. Culkin's representative denied the rumors in a statement, but the actor decided to respond to the fake reports online with a bit of humor. 

At the time of the death hoax, Culkin and his band, The Pizza Underground, were gearing up for a performance. The band's Twitter account shared a group photo with the actor and captioned it, "One of the great things you can do when you're alive is stop for lunch in Breaux Bridge, LA." 

The tweet was followed up by a second photo on the band's Instagram. In it, Culkin plays dead backstage while being carried out by his bandmates. "Weekend at Bernie's," they joked, referencing the 1989 film of two teenagers pretending their dead boss is still alive. With this many fake death rumors surrounding him, maybe Culkin should star in a reboot.