“Chumlee”–or Austin Russell–of “Pawn Stars” has not died of a heart attack and appears to be alive and in good health.
He posted a photo of himself on Instagram after a death hoax went viral on Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday afternoon.
“Live Long, Rich forever,” he wrote alongside a photo of himself standing in a pawn shop, smiling.
He tweeted something similar, which was retweeted by the official “Pawn Stars” Twitter page. “May we live long, Rich forever,” he wrote.
Rick Harrison, who appears on “Pawn Stars,” tweeted that Chumlee is fine. “Breaking news: CHUMLEE IS ALIVE & WELL! He is actually filming today but we all really appreciate everyone’s concern,” he wrote. He added, “@chumlee_ is ALIVE & WELL! He is 101 lbs down & in the best health of his life! Thanks for your concern! He is filming today at GS Pawn.”
A fake report from the website eBuzzd, which posts mostly false news–including celebrity death hoaxes–claimed Chumlee died via a heart attack. Another one that was going around claimed he died via “marijuana overdose,” which was from last year.
“Austin Russell, also known as Chumlee, star of History’s reality series ‘Pawn Stars,’ has died from an apparent heart attack, sources confirm to eBuzzd. He was only 31 years old,” the fake eBuzzd report says. “The news comes as a shock considering Chumlee’s [sic] had just recently altered his lifestyle habits, and lost 75 pounds in a year by exercising at a gym six days a week and improving his diet, including drinking more juice, eating more vegetables and abstaining from red meat, a change that was inspired by his father’s death at age 54 from pancreatic cancer, two weeks before ‘Pawn Stars’ debuted.”
The one about him dying via “marijuana overdose” was from about a year ago.
“The rumor was nothing more than a hoax, a bit of fiction promulgated in a 14 May 2013 article published on the Internet Chronicle web site, one which followed up that site’s equally fictitious report from two months earlier which claimed Chumlee had been arrested for possession of seven pounds of marijuana. (The putative cause of death given in Chumlee’s phony Internet Chronicle obituary, a ‘marijuana overdose,’ is virtually a medical impossibility.),” hoax-debunking site Snopes writes.
Regarding his weight loss, Chumlee said that he lost about 75 pounds recently.
The 31-year-old said a few months ago, “I’m going to the gym six days a week. I’m eating right. Well-balanced diet. I drink a juice smoothie every morning.”
He said his father’s death was one of the reasons why he’s losing weight, ABC reported.
“My dad died from pancreatic cancer at 54 … I’m making sure I’m eating my vegetables and staying away from the red meat,” he said.
On Twitter, there were frequent “RIP Chumlee” tweets, with the term #chumleedead trending at one point.