Hoaxception: Willie Nelson Death Hoax is a Hoax Within a Hoax

Does someone out there wants Willie Nelson dead? No. So they want people to THINK he’s dead? No—they want people to think other people thought he was dead.


Don’t panic, Willie Nelson fans. The “On the Road Again” singer is alive and well at 82, despite what several hoax news stories being spread around on Facebook might tell you. This is the third time this year rumors of the musician’s death have spread rapidly on social media. Why? Well, it gets a little confusing.

According to Media Mass, it all started on Facebook when a page called R.I.P. Willie Nelson begun gaining traction. Before long, the page had garnered more than a million Likes. The page’s About information railed off a believable-sounding obituary for Nelson:

“At about 11 a.m. ET on Sunday (December 20, 2015), our beloved guitarist Willie Nelson passed away. Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933 in Abbott. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”

The story was then picked up by such esteemed outlets as Viral Time Lapse, which disclaims:

“This story is still developing and all information is not yet officially verified.”

Twenty dollars says that isn't a cigarette in his mouth.
Twenty dollars says that isn’t a cigarette in his mouth.

A spokesperson for Nelson supposedly told Media Mass:

“He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the Internet.”

There’s just one problem: Media Mass is itself a satirical website. Their specialty? Creating phony hoaxes. Yes, they hoax hoaxes. Why? To fool media outlets into reporting that there had been a social media death hoax, when in reality none existed—a brilliantly confusing troll that one might (hopefully with self-awareness) call “epic.”

Media Mass has been criticized for going too far—such as when they posted an article “debunking” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death as an elaborate hoax, which reportedly caused a great deal of confusion. However, if their satirical message is to “expose with humour, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe,” then they are succeeding.

So there you have it, folks. Willie Nelson isn’t dead. He’s still off somewhere being Willie Nelson, doing the things Willie Nelson does. Catch up on the most memorable (real) celebrity death hoaxes over at the New York Daily News.

You may also enjoy these related stories from our archives:

Wayne Knight Death Hoax: Pranksters Create Fake TMZ Website To Spread Rumor

Macaulay Culkin Dead? Another Death Hoax Circulates On Facebook

RIP Chris Brown: Death Hoax Trends After Suge Knight Shooting




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