You have been Rick-Rolled. Rick Astley is not dead

Argh, this is a stupid hoax. Apparently, someone tried to be funny and posted a fake Associated Press article on iReport claiming that Rick Astley is dead. iReport, for those who don’t know, is a citizen journalism site by CNN. This isn’t the first time someone posted fake celebrities death stories on iReport. Last year, someone posted on iReport claiming that Steve Job had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. This news causes Apple shares to fall quite a bit until someone debunk the rumors.

The Associated Press
Monday, June 30, 2009 1:07 AM
Berlin – Best known for his 80’s pop hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Singer / Songwriter Rick Astley has passed away at age 43. Astley’s body was found at the Angleterre Hotel in Berlin, after an ambulance responded to a 112 call from his bedroom. In this call Astley reported chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea,
Paramedics found Astley unconscious in his hotel room. He was rushed to Charité hospital and pronounced dead at 12:32 am, June 30th. The cause of death is unconfirmed.
Astley was in the middle of a concert tour that would end in late August of 2009. He was to return to the United Kingdom at that time.
© 2009 The Associated Press

A few website picked up the story and commented that they doubt its authenticity. Many people beginning tweeting about it. Some of them think that Rick Astley is really dead while others doubt it is true. Then the funny thing happen. Malaysia’s The Star published the news on their website, citing reference from AP. Several twitterers from Malaysia saw the article and begin tweeting about it. After all, if it appears on traditional media, it should be true, right? Wrong.
Picture 7
Everyone is talking about it until the word “Rick Astley” became the top trending word on Twitter. When I saw the news on The Star, my first reaction was to check twitter and google for more reference. Most of the tweets are pointing to iReport or The Star. The source of the news is from AP, yet I couldn’t find the article on AP’s website. Something isn’t right here. Then someone by the nick Khasrod commented on the iReport article:

1. Monday, June 30.
2. Rick Astley left Berlin about a week ago, his last show was in Norway and he was to head from there to Denmark. Not sure why he would be in Germany again.
3. He is not on tour according to his website, he has a total of one show scheduled for all of July.
4. The original iReport about this was removed from the website.
I see no reason to give this story any credit right now.

Haha, even the date is wrong. That is confirm a hoax. Rick Astley is not dead.
Which brings me back to a point that I mentioned during the recent Open Room. New Media is a self aggregating medium that will correct itself. If someone post a fake news, it will be debunked by the rest of the community. That is the beauty of new media.
Rick Astley is not dead. He is alive. Whoever started this rumour is sick. Now I wonder what will his reaction be when he wakes up in the morning and discovered people saying that he is dead. Oh well, you guys have just been Rick-Rolled.

Official statement from Rick Astley’s website:

Rick is Alive and Well
Contrary to reports in the press today, Rick is alive and well and looking forward to his concert in Tivoli Gardens in Denmark later this week.
The rumour hit the press earlier this morning, with Rick reported to have been found in hotel room in Berlin.

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