If you spent any time on Facebook or Twitter yesterday, then you might have encountered reports of the passing of actor Michael J. Fox.
The rumor was so pervasive that Fox's name quickly became a worldwide trending topic.
Fortunately, fans can breathe easy, as Fox is not dead, but is instead the latest victim of an obnoxious celebrity death hoax.
Reps for Fox have confirmed that the 57-year-old actor is alive and well, and was just as confused about the apparent prank as anyone else.
Usually, the origin of such nonsense remains mysterious, but this time it looks as though the culprit has been identified.
According to the internet's sharpest sleuths, news of Fox's passing originated on a website that was designed to trick users into thinking they had visited Yahoo! News.
A report at the top of the site's homepage reads as follows:
“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.”
While it's true that Fox has been battling Parkinson's Disease for much of his life, the rest of the report is a complete fabrication.
It seems that the hoax spread further and faster than most due to the fact that Fox has been silent on social media in recent weeks.
The photo above, which Fox tweeted on June 1 in support of gun violence victims, constitutes his most recent social media activity.
“It’s made me stronger," Fox once said of his diagnosis.
"A million times wiser. And more compassionate, I’ve realized I’m vulnerable, that no matter how many awards I’m given or how big my bank account is, I can be messed with like that.
"The end of the story is you die. We all die. So, accepting that, the issue becomes one of quality of life."
Hopefully, Fox's story won't come to an end for many years.