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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Beloved Actor And Back To The Future Star Michael J. Fox Has NOT Died At The Age Of 57

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sun, 05 Aug 2018 17:48:41 Z)

Did actor Michael J. Fox die at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from complications related to Parkinson's disease? No, that's not true: the death hoax was reported by a fake news website masquerading as Yahoo! News but it is not real.

The story originated from an article published on August 5, 2018 on www.yahoonews-us.com (not news.yahoo.com) titled "Beloved Actor And Back To The Future Star Michael J. Fox has died at the age of 57" (archived here) which opened:

On August 2, Michael J Fox arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was self-admitted with complications attributed to Parkinson's Disease. According to Chief Coroner Jonathan Lucas M.D., Fox had developed pneumonia, a common problem occurring in Parkinson's sufferers in the later stages of the disease. Tragically, Fox died at 11:24 this morning. Doctors confirmed Fox passed away peacefully and was surrounded by friends and family.

Screenshot of http://www.yahoonews-us.com/2018/08/04/beloved-actor-and-back-to-the-future-star-michael-j-fox-has-died-at-the-age-of-57/

No other media outlets confirmed the story and hours later there still is no mention of it on the breaking news section of the website of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, something that would surely happen if the news was real.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and some of them may have confused it with a real article from Yahoo! News:

Beloved Actor And Back To The Future Star Michael J. Fox has died at the age of 57

Beloved actor and Back to The Future star Michael J. Fox has died at the age of 57. On August 2, Michael J Fox arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was self-admitted with complications attributed to...

We wrote about yahoonews-us.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

The site that put out the hoax is connected to several other fake news sites all mimicking several well known media brands:

  • www.abcnews-us.com
  • www.coindesk-us.com
  • www.foxnews-us.com
  • www.nytimes-us.com
  • www.yahoonews-us.com
  • vice-en-us.com

Some of these sites in turn are connected to a larger network that went offline about nine months ago:

Entire Network Of Fake News Websites Vanishes In Wake Of Mandalay Bay Hoax | Lead Stories

An entire network of fake news websites designed to look like local news outlets has vanished without a trace. Most likely it happened in the fall-out of a hoax from a month ago about a security guard at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas supposedly being arrested as the "second shooter" after the mass shooting event on October 1st in which 58 people were killed.

We'll be keeping an eye on the new network with great interest.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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