Celebrity death hoaxes – drowning claims, conspiracy plots and 3 sick jokes

For as long as there have been celebrities, there have been death hoaxes which have sent their fans into a tailspin.

One of the longest-spanning of these is a rumour started about The Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney 53 years ago.

In 1969, a local radio DJ claimed the singer died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike imposter and a monstrous theory was born.

READ MORE:Cruel Jeremy Clarkson death hoax sparks fan fury as sick jokes trend online

As the number of celebrity death hoaxes explodes, Daily Star takes a look inside the most bewildering examples over recent years.

Trinity the Tuck

Earlier this year, Drag Race: All Stars winner Trinity the Tuck was declared dead in a social media post which soon went viral.

The drag queen was said to have died in a boating accident in a tweet which featured a fake TMZ article with the headline "Trinity the Tuck, RuPaul's Drag Race super-star, dead at 37".

As tributes for the star began to roll in, Trinity replied to the tweet and declared she was alive and well.

She wrote: "I LIVE… no seriously I'm alive…just some desperate attention seeker starting yet another rumor.

"As if I would die in a boating accident, I'm half plastic – I would never drown."

Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney is credited with beginning the celebrity death hoax craze in an exhaustive plot which began over half a decade ago.

In 1966, Detroit radio host Russ Gibb was asked by a mysterious caller to spin a Beatles record backwards, which resulted in Gibb hearing the words "Turn me on, dead man."

With another track seemingly including the words "I buried Paul" – though this was later proven to be "cranberry sauce" – a theory was born: Paul died in a car accident on November 9, 1966 while driving away from Abbey Road.

The theory also claimed Paul's Beatles bandmates replaced him with a lookalike in order to conceal his death from fans while also dropping hints about his true demise throughout their records.

Over the years, Paul has assured fans the theory is a hoax and he is the real Sir Paul McCartney.

In 1974, he told Rolling Stone: "Someone from the office rang me up and said, 'Look, Paul, you're dead.'

"And I said, 'Oh, I don’t agree with that.'"

Jeremy Clarkson

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Jeremy Clarkson has been hit by not one not two but three death hoaxes across the same number of years.

The Clarkson's Farm star, 62, initially sparked concern in July 2020 when fans noticed the usually online star hadn't engaged with social media for a while.

Jeremy went on to reassure fans he's "not dead" but three months later, was hit by another hoax as #RIPJeremyClarkson began trending on Twitter – with a number of bizarre explanations including "catching super tuberculosis from having sex with badgers" and "nibbled to death by a hamster" offered as his cause of death.

Labelled a "sick joke" by fans, the hashtag began trending again in October last year – though Jeremy was once again alive and well.

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne is considered a modern-day Paul McCartney by some fans – in that, she's plagued by the same death cover-up rumours which surround the Hey Jude hitmaker.

The Complicated singer, 38, has long been the subject of rumours she died and was replaced by a lookalike named Melissa in 2003.

Believed to have originated on a Brazilian fan page in 2005, the theory states Avril used a body double called Melissa at the start of her career as she struggled to cope with her fame.

Avril is thought to have died – her manner of death has yet to be confirmed by so-called Melissa theorists – and in order to continue making profits, the record company replaced her with Melissa full-time.

The star has even been seen with the name "Melissa" written in pen on her hand, which some theorists claim as proof.

Axl Rose

Guns N Roses legend Axl Rose was declared dead in December 2014 though, thankfully, the rumours turned to be out yet another hoax.

Axl, 60, was mourned by online fans after a tweet was published by a fake MSNBC site claiming the singer had passed away – and posting to his own Twitter page, the rocker swiftly debunked the claims.

In response to the death hoax, Axl tweeted: "If I'm dead do I still have to pay taxes?"

He also later posted a photo of an apparition above a mixing board while making fun of the rumour.

Celine Dion

Celine Dion has been the subject of many false death hoaxes over the years and speaking in 2013, revealed the toll they had taken on her.

Recalling a false rumour that she had "killed herself in her garage", the singer told Digital Spy: "Sometimes it’s freaky because I have to call my family about it.

"The thing that worries me is my mum. It makes me a little mad – she’s 86 years old and if I’m not on the phone telling her I’m OK four seconds after it’s on the news… it doesn’t matter what they say, it’s the impact it has on your family.

"But I’m glad I’m not dead!"


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