Celebrities Who Had Death Hoaxes In 2023

Celebrity death hoaxes are very much a thing, and quite a few celebs have fallen victim to the internet. Generally, once one of these rumors pops up on social media, hundreds of other users start questioning the validity, thus starting a trend. Death hoaxes usually don't end until the celebrity themselves speak out, often with a, "Hey, I'm very much not dead." In 2014, for example, "Seinfeld" star Wayne Knight confirmed that he, in fact, did not die, despite someone's attempt to convince the masses otherwise. "Some of you will be glad to hear this, others strangely disappointed, but... I am alive and well," he tweeted. Other times, these rumors are debunked by credible news outlets who receive confirmation from a rep or spokesperson that said star is still with us.

Over the years, more than a few celebrities have been informed of their own demise on multiple occasions. These include people like Jackie Chan and Willie Nelson, who have been killed off by the internet more times than we can count. And while we wish that we could say that we've moved on from death hoaxes as a society, they appear to be here to stay. Let's take a look at some of the biggest celebrity death hoaxes of 2023.

Sam Elliott is not dead

In August, internet users were led to believe that "Tombstone" star Sam Elliott had died. Just before his 79th birthday, a YouTube channel called Celeb Breaking News decided it would be a great time to make a tribute to the talented actor, who "died" — except he didn't. "10 Minutes Ago! American Actor Sam Elliott His Last Goodbye On His Deathbed #whodiedtoday," the title of the video read. To make things even more convincing, whoever created the video added a very believable description. "Today, we're saying goodbye to a true Hollywood legend, Sam Elliott," it read. Sites like Hollywood Life and the New York Post were tagged, so it had to be legit, right? Wrong.

Snopes was quick to debunk the report, confirming that Elliott didn't die. Elliott has been fairly active in the entertainment business as of late, voicing a character in "Family Guy" and starring in the "Yellowstone" spinoff, "1883." He has also lent his voice to a documentary called "The Gettysburg Address," which is slated for release in 2025.

Tekashi 6ix9ine is still alive

Tekashi 6ix9ine — whose real name is Daniel Hernandez — has been in the news quite a bit over the years, but in April, he was the victim of a death hoax. According to The U.S. Sun, rumors that the performer died surfaced following news that he was attacked while at an LA Fitness in Palm Beach County. In late March, TMZ reported that the "GOOBA" rapper was jumped by "several guys" while trying to decompress in a sauna. The outlet posted photos of Tekashi beaten and bloodied, and it didn't take long for rumors of his death to start circulating.

It's possible the rumors spread like wildfire because of the lack of a statement from the rapper's team following the incident and the fact that he hadn't been active on social media since February. He did, however, upload an Instagram video weeks after the incident took place. "3 years no music. 3 years no radio. 3 years no industry support. I wake up and decide to make music again and perform in front of 40,000. I would hate my guts to ... I will forever be the number 1 rapper in the world forever grateful," he captioned the post, making no mention of his death hoax or the gym incident.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time Tekashi has been the victim of a death hoax. In 2018, there were unconfirmed rumors that he died following an overdose, but a site called Lead Stories set everyone's minds at ease.

Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend confirmed he didn't die

"America's Got Talent" judge Simon Cowell is another celebrity we did not lose in 2023, despite what you may have read online. In January, Cowell's ex-girlfriend Sinitta was getting messages and condolences about the media mogul, which greatly upset her. "There is a terrible prank that @SimonCowell has died. It freaked me out last night when people started messaging me! Simon is NOT dead People," she posted on Instagram at the time, according to the Daily Mail. "Very much Alive and Well. Thank God I have a great sense [of humor], but you really scared me #NOTFUNNy #notfunny," she added.

More recently, someone else tried to convince the world that the former "American Idol" judge wasn't with us anymore. YouTube channel Celebrity Tribute 24h posted a video titled, "Farewell to Simon Cowell in his hospital bed, he died in the arms of his loved ones." Meanwhile, Page Six reported that someone altered a photo that appeared to show Cowell in a hospital bed, which really sent some internet users into a spiral. Cowell was quick to debunk that batch of rumors himself.

Celine Dion has been dealing with health issues but she's not dead

Her heart continues to go on — because she isn't dead. Celine Dion was pronounced dead by someone on the internet in July, according to The U.S. Sun. "Celine Dion dead" was trending on Twitter which had all of us worried, but the "Power of Love" singer is doing okay. Dion has been hit with a variety of health issues in recent years, including stiff person syndrome (SPS), which has caused her to take a step back from her career, but the condition hasn't ended her life.

"We now know this is what's been causing all of the spasms that I've been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to," she wrote in a candid Instagram post in December 2022. Hollywood Life reports that Dion is doing whatever she can to recover as she hopes to return to performing as soon as she is able.

Lil Tay's death was posted in a statement on her Instagram account

On August 9, a very concerning message was posted on child rapper Lil Tay's Instagram account, seemingly confirming that she and her brother had died. "It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire's sudden and tragic passing. We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain. The outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock," the statement read. From the jump, fans of the viral internet star seemed confused about the news, especially because there hadn't been any activity on her social media since 2018. Moreover, People magazine reported that neither the Los Angeles County Police Department nor the medical examiner's office had any record of Lil Tay's death.

Sure enough, several hours later, TMZ confirmed that the 14-year-old was alive and that her Instagram account had been hacked.